Author: Campbell, Bruce

Where the Real Weather Is
Many folks who move out to California from other parts of the country rave about our weather. Itís so doggone pleasant! No more shoveling snow (Iím speaking of California in general Ė I know darn well some Californians have to shovel snow), no more ice storms, and certainly no fierce winds such as tornadoes and hurricanes bring.

But fairly often, after a few years of living out west, the very thing that they liked about it becomes irksome. ďYou donít really have seasons in California, do you?Ē, they ask, as if they had been somehow hoodwinked. And some of them, after a few years of the mild, indistinct seasonal changes, make the move back to where The Weather lives.

Iím a born-and-raised Californian (SF Bay Area, no less), and I think there are very real changes in the seasons here. They are subtle, to be sure, and most years, youíd be hard pressed to define exactly when spring broke the winterís grip, or when fall really fell. But thatís how we do it in California.

Some time in each September, autumn will make a tentative appearance, then give way to weeks of summer weather before trying again. Last month, summer claimed a week or two of November, then relented to autumn, and now, winter is lobbying for some face time. Come next February, summer will send an advance team to tantalize us for 3 or 4 days. This will fool all the fruit trees and scare the ski resorts, only to slip back into the
uncertain gloom of late winter/early spring.

I know darn well what winter feels like, if only a California winter. It gets dark early, and the streets are often slick from cold rain, and itís a great time to be indoors with friends and family. I know what summer feels like: itís hot and sometimes, it so hot that nobody ventures outside during the heat of the mid afternoon. But it also means warm nights and late sundowns, which means, of course Bluegrass Festival season! And because itís California, festivals begin in early spring, go all summer long and right into the latter part of autumn.

Whether itís stark or not, itís all weather, and itís the weather Iím used to. And each season is distinct to me, in feel and mood. Both summer and winter can make you long for the end of those seasons, but spring and autumn in California are as glorious as any on Earth. So, as the days grow short, and we hunker down in our warm homes to escape the temperatures in the low 40ís (brrrrrr!), we enjoy the warm company and wait for the new spring to arrive and start the cycle of Bluegrass life all over again.

Of course, the winter is also a great time to get out to jam sessions, concerts and open mics. And you donít need to put on your snow tires or mittens to do it!
Posted:  12/3/2008

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