Tuesday, August 17, 2010
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
There’s usually a smell in the late afternoon baked forest that I can only describe as sexual. It’s delicious to my nose. This summer, I’ve not smelled it once.
If any doubting Thomas (or Penelope) needed proof that the climate is not itself these days, just come to the Monterey Peninsula and take an afternoon walk with me. Or don’t come here. Try Chicago, New York City, Pakistan. This is not Mark Twain’s summer in San Francisco. This is a chill of another factor. The sky is the color of milk and as heavy. It weighs on my head almost all the time. This a dampness meant for rain forests. Or Siberia. By nature, I’ve got the sunniest of dispositions but some days, I dissolve into Ms. Gloom-and-Doom.
We’re used to summer fog in these parts. After more than thirty years on the central California coast, I've become accustomed to it. It’s so much better than mid day in Manhattan where even my sweat sweats. The pattern here is for the fog to clear bringing an unabashed sun out, turning the day into something to write home about—warm and beautiful—around 11:00 or a little after. Around 6:00 or a bit before the fog tiptoes back before we can bemoan the day’s heat. Its return makes us long for the next day’s afternoon. That’s a Monterey summer, a Santa Cruz or San Francisco summer. And, as I said, this is not that. That is tolerable. My tomatoes ripen absolutely deliciously in that. This is not that, as I believe, I’ve mentioned.
This is: Where the hell are my tomatoes? Peaches taste like yellow fleshed, sweetened cardboard. And must I wear a wool dress in August? This chill has spread to my bones. They are cold. My hair is cold. It is 2:00 in the afternoon and I have wool blended socks on. They’re a bright turquoise blue to remind me of the sea in the Mediterranean where, I hope, it’s warm, the sun tickling the water, the sunbathers turn over like so much meat on the grill. What’s worst though is this weather makes me fearful for the future. Not my future, but the future for the ones on their way up.
Here’s the few good things that I know of, resulting from winter in July and now August: the gardens are not demanding inordinate amounts of water; my cats aren’t burdened with fleas, making their hind legs work overtime; when walking up hill at Jacks Peak I’m not bathing in my own sweat.
My Monday afternoon writing students would like to contribute the following additions: Roberta says, “Taking a hot tub is more fun.” Laura reminds me, “The hills are not ablaze with fire as they were the two preceding years.” “For once, it’s 90 in Seattle,” says Margaret. Her son lives there and he’s enjoying the heat. Lorraine says, “It makes us travel elsewhere for warmth.” In mind anyway. Richard suggests visiting his home town of Syracuse—just kidding! And lastly, from Alisa, “More pleasure can be derived from cup after cup of hot tea!” Better not leave Persis out, the one comment I can wholeheartedly take comfort in. “It’s better weather for writing!”
And you, out there, what good foggy things have you come up with?
Posted by Patrice Vecchione at 5:39 AM