I used to live in California. San Diego, to be precise. Del Mar, to be preciser. Yep, I know it’s not a word, but it fits.
I lived with what real estate agents referred to as a “blue water view.” Folks who bought houses with a “white water view” had an extra zero slapped on to the end of their house’s price tag.
Still, I thought the house was divine. It was at the top of a long ridge, less than a mile from the great Pacific Pool and an easy stroll down to bistros, boutiques and beaches.
A constant breeze blew from the sandy sidewalks straight up the hill and through our open windows. I can’t remember a day when we turned on the air conditioning or the heat.
The climate was perfect.
I hated it.
I NEED WEATHER!
I never had goose bumps, never reached for a sweater. I passed up the deodorant isle at the drug store—didn’t buy it because I never broke a sweat. Every day was like the last: breezy, blue and beautiful.
I moved out of perfection as fast as I could.
I craved brooding, roiling clouds filled with drenching sheets of rain.
I wanted booming thunder that would sometimes rumble across the skies like a stretched out line of levitating men playing timpani and at other times crack with such force I’d think the result was an irreparable rift in the sky.
I missed splits of lighting that charged the atmosphere with the smell of static electricity, and that made the hairs on my arms stand briefly at attention.
I needed dense, impenetrable snowfall to blanket and silence the earth.
I sought air so cold it crackled, bright and sharply blue.
I hunted for icicles sword-like and jagged.
I desired weather so far on one side of the climate pendulum it would require binoculars to see its contrasting position. Or maybe just six months.
The feeling of moving one’s body from one extreme to the other is addictive. Imagine …
Soaking in an outdoor hot tub, your skin so pink your face flushes like a bashful schoolgirl. On the count of three, you suck in your breath and leap out of the tub into a powdery drift of snow. You roll, you shriek, you shock your body. Rewind, redo and repeat. Now you’re Swedish.
How about this …
You’ve woken early, popped your broad brimmed hat atop your head, and squatted for hours under a blazing, unforgiving sun as you weed, trim, pick and prune. The garden is fragrant from spellbinding waves of heat. You smell the pungent, earthy soil and the heady and highly perfumed calling card of piquant petals. You hear the drowsy response of droning bumblebees, and the washing waves of cicadas who announce on a time warped loop that the weather is sticky and sizzling. Sweat trickles and stings in your eyes. You stand, strip and dive into the pool. For an instant you are stunned with the collision, your mind astonished at the clashing antithesis of intense opposition.
It’s worth it.
Worth broiling your body to quench an internal fire with frosty, sweet iced tea. Worth numbing the tips of your fingers, toes and sluggish tongue to spread infusing warmth that can only come from a cup of chocolate soup.
Yes, it’s been a wild ride this summer. Dame Nature has given us a taste of fire and brimstone. It hasn’t been easy for many. For some it’s been downright cruel.
Within the face of triple digits I’ve tasted more sweat, but I’ve also tasted more ice cream, felt the drench of a hose and a sprinkler spray across my face and cherished every ice cube.
For me … this is living, this is life. This is weather.