Someone has replaced San Francisco with Seattle.
It’s raining. In June. It never rains in June here. I’m all discombobulated. Those of you who live in places where it rains year round may find the idea of having months in which it does not rain odd or unsettling. I counted as just such a person for quite a few years after I moved to this city. In the summer months, when normally there is no rain, I used to dream of rain. I heard pattering on the roof, and drips from the gutters. I heard thunder. When I woke it was always the same: sunny, with a slight breeze, and no hint of sweltering summer heat whatsoever.
I suppose I have lived here long enough now (10 years!) that whatever attachment I had to the natural rhythms of my former homes, where in summer the heat and humidity reached levels that made it impossible to exert oneself and where I spent many hours inside air-conditioned malls, floating in bathwater-warm pools and eating popsicles, has been replaced with an attachment to the “seasons” of San Francisco.
When I first moved here I thought San Francisco had no seasons, except a rainy season and a non-rainy season. Salespeople in clothing stores, making conversation, said things like “Are you ready for summer?” and I would say, “Yes, definitely,” but I was thinking, What summer? It wasn’t as though my wardrobe changed in the summer, as it would have if I was living on the East Coast. It doesn’t get hot here. It doesn’t get very cold, either, at least not below freezing, and so the heavy wool sweaters I used to stack in neat piles in the back of my closet — since I moved here I’ve had no use for them, either.
But San Francisco does indeed have seasons. I’m aware of the subtleties now. In summer we have fog in most of the city, and a cold damp that sometimes requires a winter coat. In the part of the city where the fog doesn’t penetrate, or where it burns off in the day, the sun is warm and spring-like, but rarely hot. In the fall, the temperatures warm and the sun is plentiful. Some trees lose their leaves, though without the fanfare of trees, in, say, New England. In winter, it rains, days-long downpours punctuated by clear, cool days. In spring, the sun takes over for the rain, until, finally, there is no more rain, at least until it’s winter again.
At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. This year the rain is unwilling to go away. Storms keep arriving from the Pacific, draping themselves along the West Coast all the way north to Seattle. Or perhaps I should say, from Seattle all the way south to San Francisco.