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1 augustus 2005

My Summer Accelerators

...accelerate to Summer, glide through Autumn, momentum for Winter

The changes in seasons in San Francisco are there just like anywhere else, if you know where to look for them.

Green means Winter. Not just any green, but a crazy, almost kelly green—definitely a green that Magritte would have used, did use—that tints all the hills here. Winters mean rains; rains mean that the rocky surfaces can support plant life, weeds whose only purpose is to seed and make more weeds; and that kind of life means green. New green.

It's a green that takes some preparing for. Winter is spent mostly under gray skies, not the right kind of light at all to show off Madre Tierra's pretty green dress. That's for Spring.

Spring is sunny, muddy, giddy. Spring here is like spring in any moderate climes, the start of something new, the start itself as old as time on earth. Trees come alive, the ground comes alive. Buds come—on trees (and on each other! ha!). How many angels can dance on the head of a peninsula? All of them!

Spring brings pink and white flowers of plum and cherry which, in turn bring “snow” to Edgewood Avenue, literally the edge of the Wood.

But mostly, Spring, late spring, brings purple back to the Jacaranda trees! I look forward to it every year. It's more of a calendar than iCal or any stack of paper or cardboard will ever be. It's what informs my Sense of Where and Sense of When.

And every year, when the blooms fail and fall, the deep green of the tree itself seems scar tissue, what's left after the tree has fought its good fight and given us its best.

Jacaranda Purple is the color of Spring to me, the color of the end of Spring, really, because Summer arrives on the calendar when June is already heavy, and San Francisco labors under its weight, hot and humid and torpid until the clock strikes July.

July brings fog; July brings crisp temperatures and atmospheric clarity. July is Summer everywhere else, but Mark Twain's Winter in San Francisco. Calendar Summer is cool and windy and remember your jackets, please!

Sutro TowerSummer fog is dense, possessing taxis, having fingers that crawl and hoist it over Twin Peaks: my Fog Monster! She shows up every afternoon, her own street beat.

When the fog swells, becomes solid and simple and massive, fingers retracted, it's a force of nature again, and rises up and up. When the top of the fog touches the bottom of the horizontal beams of Sutro Tower, the tower itself appears to be a galleon on a sea of sky: the Flying Dutchman.

When time and meteorology conspire to put me in the right place at the right time, meaning when the fog layer has risen to Just-So and I am home Just-Then, and the ship Just-Appears, I am filled with joy. I can't explain it. The swiss army knife of intellect tries all its gadgets and gewgaws to solve for it, but there's no solving for joy. Maybe that's the best definition of it, after all. It's a gift, it's good timing. It's right-timing.

By mid-September, already Autumn, it's hot again in San Francisco. Summer Solstice may arrive two-thirds of the way through June, but San Francisco takes her own good time getting there: a full season, almost.

Autumn is hot again, and sometimes humid. The heat doesn't last more than a month, and so it's savored. Street Fairs abound—boys with their clothes off!—a last hurrah or two before the gray comes, the gray that must be endured before the green comes. San Francisco's collective terrible Tuesday every day of the week.

Thanksgiving is forced, or at least past-minded. The end of November offers no collective experience to be thankful for, so instead I look back at a year and compose myself and my patience for the next to come. What a difference from ten years ago when la Luna was my only friend and more than a month was more than was understandable, abidable.

These days, life is arable. Difficult at times, difficult at most times, sometimes. But survivable, thriveable, livable.

More than livable; I'm here and it's today. San Francisco is a land of abundance, verdance for the soul and palate and mind and body.

A Flying Dutchman Day can propel me for a week. The Jacaranda blossoms are all but gone and that gives pause, until I see that the gi-normous magnolia blossoms are back again, off-white and glowing.

So what will be next? I can't wait.

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Posted by jeff at 1 augustus 2005 10:18

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I sneak around blogs, and have for a very long time, but had to say this is by far the best entry I've read in months. I may not be in San Francisco anymore, but I felt it again after reading this.


Posted by: Chad at 1 augustus 2005 20:13

Thank you very much. When did you live here? Where are you now?

Posted by: GodOfBiscuits Author Profile Page at 1 augustus 2005 20:19

You have a way with words.

This was so beautiful, Jeff.

Posted by: Tina at 2 augustus 2005 12:45

I moved from Florida to L.A. 2 years ago and still haven't made it to San Francisco yet.. I'll have to check it out soon.

Posted by: bloghungry at 4 augustus 2005 20:10

Oh, how I still miss being in the city. I'm now in the armpit of hell, otherwise known as Sacramento County. Where o' where are the struggling artists, the writers in the coffeeshops, the fog, and the sweet smells of Sunday beer busts? :)

When you and Sam need a houseguest for the weekend, let me know. Must. Return. To. The. Eagle.

Posted by: Chad at 6 augustus 2005 7:42

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