Monday, October 11, 2010

Time of Year

Seasonally, Southern California is confusing...and not just to me. The minute September hits, young girls are wearing their Ugg boots with their short shorts, ready for anything the weather may throw at them. Days and nights can be cool and sweater-worthy while days are hot and sunny and I rarely get it right. My car is filled with discarded layers.

I blame my confusion on the fact that I grew up out East in Washington, DC where there were four seasons:
  • Winter: Sometimes a nor'easter would hit with a full-bore, head-on snowfall of such magnitude that it closed schools for days, messed with inaugurations and generally delighted every child and government worker within and outside of the Beltway. But most of the time it wasn't like that; it was easy with yellow forsythia budding early and brightening the mild winter greys.
  • Spring: Soft, sweet, fragrant, pink and white. She sometimes tip-toed into town, feathery and filled with promise but more often a little too warm and steamy, reminding everyone of just what was to come. And then, too many times, those delicate blossoms that had been forced into beauty by the sun, were whacked by winds and pelting rain and sometimes heavy, wet and quick-t0-melt snows.
  • Summer: A bitch with bite. Sweaty, steamy and kinda sexy. Lots of sun, lots of lightening and thunder and lots of memories of bathing just before bed, a sprinkle of talc and the fan blowing coolish air. We never had air conditioning. Why the hell not? [note to self: ask Mum when I'm in England in the Spring]
  • Autumn: Usually, perfection.
English seasons were predictably unpredictable, especially in Newcastle where grey, damp, chilly summer days seemed to be the norm. Ditto for winter, spring and autumn. And before my Geordie friends tell me just how wrong I am, I do read your FB postings which seem to mention the weather with some frequency. But you know something, it didn't matter. And even though a rare show of sunshine often dueled with scuttling clouds, we mostly loved our time in the North. The South, though, was definitely not so challenging. Early days in Lymington and then our time in Caversham...easy peasy.

And then there was the upper Mid-West...Milwaukee. Twenty years of weather drama. We flew into O'Hare on New Year's Day 1981. There was a little light left in the sky and dry, powder-like snow whipped 'round our woefully under-dressed selves. I remember looking at Roger over the childrens' heads and mouthing something like, "What the hell?" And I said that (and more), with frequency:
  • when our snowblower broke and our then teenaged son was v e r y slow to get out of bed to help clear the driveway because Alonzo (our driveway clearer) was even slower;
  • when trying to explain to my then teenaged daughter that no she couldn't go to the movies because the tornado sirens were going and we had to hide in the basement (in spite of the fact that her father was sitting upstairs calmly reading the NY Times);
  • when torrential rains flooded our basement;
  • when our TV reception tanked so I half hung out a 2nd story window using a broom handle to chip ice off the satellite dish;
  • when ice storms would blind me with their beauty;
  • when the ash tree failed to leaf for my daughter's May 22 birthday
  • and when that same wretched ash tree dropped its leaves before my son's October 29 birthday
  • Winter: Cold
  • Spring: Cold with odd days that give one hope
  • Summer: Welcome, but buggy
  • Autumn: Beautiful, but short-lived
And then we moved to Topanga. Yesterday it was in the upper 90s. September saw the hottest temperatures of the entire summer, well over 100. Several days ago we got an inch and a half of rain...our first since early May. The summer months were deliciously sunny and cool (mid 70s to mid 80s) and anyone who lived along the coast was mostly in fog. And the nights...perfect for sleeping, dry and cool. Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn could all have days in the 60s or 80s or 90s. Only the rains tell me the time of year. So unless there's a Christmas tree or pumpkin or Easter basket in the photo I haven't got a clue in which month it was taken. And you know, I'm just fine with that.


Blogger Rawmandy said...

So glad you are blogging again. I always enjoy reading your thoughts and wish I could write as eloquently. Weather - what can I say in defence of the North East? Not much. I think you have nailed it - grey, grey and more grey. But you know when it does give us a bright, sunny day we are so grateful that we immediately rip off as many clothes as are decent (many folks go too far!) and show off acres of white, pasty, wobbly flesh. Ah the joys of living in Newcastle!

1:34 AM  
Blogger Lin said...

Thanks, Rawmandy. Are you one of Madeleine's friends!?

7:10 AM  
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