June 1st And Funny Weather

Kage Baker loved the month of June. It was her birthday month, which was a big, big draw, of course. It was also the month school let out for the summer, which was a rhythm so instilled in her during grammar and high school that she never stopped counting the seasons by it.

June was plum season, especially for the Santa Rosa plums that were her favourites. It was apricot and nectarine season, too, and when we were kids trees of all those fruits bloomed in Momma’s garden. In the many little stone-faced terraces (there was no natural flat ground on that lot in the Hollywood Hills) the plums and apricots grew huge and pendent during the heat of June; the single nectarine never bore much, but it had amazing neon-flamingo-showgirl pink blossoms, that made up for the paucity of fruit. It looked like a hallucination amid the drabber eucalyptus anyway.

When we were kids … the classic weather patterns of California prevailed. May had been a gentle, warming month; hills still green with the wild oats, except where they were purple and orange and yellow with lupine and poppies and mustard. June was the warm grey time – low granite skies and fog every morning, that thinned to opalescent afternoons full of hazy sunlight. June was like living in a soap bubble. Kage loved that warm, dim weather; the more so since we knew that July was right around the corner, and the Great Cosmic Magnifying Glass would shortly begin to roast the city like an ant hill.

This May was rather weird – the climate is changing (yes, it is) and the weather is more varied around here than it used to be. The month gave us enormous winds, some utterly unnatural rain, and slid back and forth between hot and cold like a 4-year old on a slide whistle. The young mulberry tree in the front of the house is now leaning at a permanent angle, and the squirrels that hunt for the berries keep falling out …

Now it’s June, and the temperature hasn’t quite managed to make it to 70 degrees today. It’s freaking raining in Northern California, and all the palantiri web cams I check every morning up and down the coast showed fog and mist and damp roads. From Catalina Island, the mainland is invisible beyond a wall of fog; at Pismo Beach, the sea vanishes into it a mile offshore. The Channel is covered with mist, and who knows what is cruising out there?

Kage would have liked this, though. It’s unusual weather, but when you get into your 50’s (as we did and have) you begin to realize you’ve seen most things before. This is not the first time this weather pattern has occurred. If we get really lucky, the summer will heat up abruptly during July and August, and bring us thunder storms – high hot grey skies that smell of fireworks; warm rain to go dance in come the afternoons, and lightning in the perspiring nights. I’ve seen it before. Kage loved those times.

On the other hand, if this is a symptom of a new weather pattern – who knows what it might bring? It’s in the last few years that we have see new kinds of clouds over California, mammatus clouds that bring terrifying amounts of lightning – it might be normal now. Last week there were honest-to-God tornadoes in northeast California. Waterspouts are becoming common.  Kage was very interested to see what it might produce, this new pattern – maybe a longer season for plums, or more frequent storms, or St. Elmo’s Fire in the tops of the coastal redwoods …

Summer is coming on, now that June is born. Surprises are rolling in off the Pacific. Days of wonder, man.

Sudden Update: at this moment it is snowing in Tahoe. And a tornado has just been sighted outside of Sacramento.  I am keeping an eye out for fish …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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4 Responses to June 1st And Funny Weather

  1. Kelly says:

    And don’t forget…Hurricane Season officially started today! And one article I read said that San Diego is overdue for a hurricane. Maybe I’ll get called to work down there. At least I will be in the right state, and not Texas!

    • Kate says:

      Kelly – haven’t you been moved back to the bottom of the disaster list now, as you’ve just put in a stint in Texas? Although, if you have to go to another storm enter, it would be nice if for once you could stay in your own state …

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

  2. widdershins says:

    fish … and frogs too!

  3. Kate says:

    Well, we’ve had floods of fish this spring, if not rains. No frogs yet – but I live within a couple of blocks of the only natural stretch of the L.A. River – and the song of millions of frogs is rising at night now from the reed beds. If it tends as it did in my childhood, everybody’s back gardens will be overrun with tiny new froglets soon.

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