I remember being a child and driving up Crystal Springs Road with my mom. I asked her what the weather was going to be like that day. She told me, and then I remember her saying, "You know what? You should be a weather girl when you grow up! I've never met a child who was so interested in the weather!" I was. I loved each new season with a passion, and found it all so very exciting. Many of my memories are weather related. Not that the weather was the focus, but it definitely played a big part in sealing a memory.
Weather has a variety to it much deeper than what touches the skin. It is a sensory delight. Spring reached sense of smell in an obvious way. My dad was a great gardener, and come spring, and sunshine, and billowy clouds and bluest skies the backyard exploded with flowers. And my dad out there in his overalls on his hands and knees covered in a film of dirt. My favorites were the dancing ballerina fuchsias that hung everywhere. Or down below on the lower side of the house (we lived on a hill) planting his garden that called out to summer to take notice.
Summer was quiet. It was still and peaceful and the air was warm and a bit thicker and it just held you. Shorts, and sleeveless shirts, and the warm sun dressed your bare skin on those summer days. While I was growing up in our little San Francisco suburb of San Bruno, the world slowed down in summer. Less coming and going. Nowhere to get to but a neighbor kid's doorbell, a Wednesday Kiddie mattinee, the town pool or Albert's Market for a pocketful of penny candies. And summer was long. A full three months off of school.
Autumn memories are blustery for me. At its start, warm wind with an undertone of chill increasing daily. And as it moved toward Halloween the sunny days turning to clear, crisp nights became apparent. And then the frost came with the pumpkins and the turkey, and the big family gatherings.
And my favorite! Winter! The trips to the mountains where my parents always had a vacation home of some sort, and the snow! I am a snow lover. I don't ski, I have just always been happy to sled or tobogan, or snow disc. But the cozy part! I can feel it down to my belly right now even as I write this. Being inside when it is freezing and wet and cold out. Being in with friends and family and good food and games or a book. And a fire. And soft slippers. This is my idea of heaven.
It rained a lot in winter as I remember. I have one particular memory that lives so strongly. It was Valentine's Day and I was a young mama. Shannon was a baby and Brooke was 4 years old. Raining cats and dogs. "Comin' down a turd floater" as my dad used to say. We picked Brooke up from nursery school around noon and headed to the little bakery in Mills Park. It was cold and the rain was pouring. And the three of us parked at the curb and I carried Shannon and the umbrella in one arm and hurried Brooke along with my other hand. Rain boots, rain coats, all of us laughing. We entered that door and the warmth was immediate. A still, comfortable warm air filled with sugar and flour baking. We picked a very special dessert, hearts full of Valentine love and the special dinner we were going to have ready for their daddy when he got home from work. It was all so simple. So happy. And so wonderful. And it was raining. Cats and dogs.
All these life events that spring out from my memory bank swirl and center around nature. And that is how I roll.
So this morning there is glory in the face of the current California drought. I woke up around 5 am and I heard it. I just knew I could hear raindrops outside. I laid there still, waiting for a car to pass down the road so I could confirm it. And there it was, tires swishing down wet pavement. God bless you Universe for raining down on our parched state.
It's a beautifully dark Sunday morning. I have lamps lit throughout the house even though I'm not really in those rooms. I do this. I feel like ambient lighting is a gift to the outside world. Folks driving by. I hope that they get a hit of cozy and it goes right to their hearts. But here I am. I'm in bed with the curtains pulled back wide open, the bedside lamp on, a cup of tea and a good book. I'm under my down comforter and I have a freshly filled hot water bottle at my feet, and the sliding door opened so that I can hear it ALL. The birds out there are happy too. The bigger ones. I hear them, the ravens mostly. The loud, funny ones that always seem to tell a joke and make me laugh. The tinier birds, who I usually hear each morning aren't out there this morning. I think they are snuggled in their feather lined nests with their own little ones. Feeling cozy.