Kage Baker passionately loved the early summer weather of Southern California.
What she loved best were the warm, grey days – May Grey, June Gloom, July Oh-Why: whatever the idiot news people called those weeks-long periods when coastal California warms up under a deep coat of hot silver mist. Basking days, she called them – times to makes a nest in the boughs on an oak tree in her mother’s yard and eat plums. Days to share a green serpentine boulder with a friendly lizard, and let the heat of the Earth radiate through your bones as if you were a lantern. Days to get your sister to drive out for Slurpees, and add gin to them.
When we lived in Pismo Beach, these mornings included ground level fog – but faint and thin, like a cubic mile of bubbles, air made of pastel rainbows where every tree had a flat top disappearing into the fog. Here in the L.A. Basin, when it happens, the fog lingers on the shoulders of the hills, and leaves the ground clear; it abruptly vanishes at mid-afternoon to hot clarity and skies of heated pearl. But the last several years we’ve burned in heat too soon and too high, and never gotten the grey grace of the fogs at all.
This year, mirabile dictu, rescued at last as we all were from 7 years of drought, we got the grey time back. It’s been wonderful, these long slow warm mornings full of the scent of roses and the sweet mutterings of mourning doves. The sound of the doves for some reason moves Harry to repeat his water-drop imitation – perfect little chimes of dripping water, like a desk fountain. Except that it’s a parrot, so sometimes the burble of the water is punctuated by dog whistles, the theme from Jeopardy, and exuberant glossolalia in an English-accented cadence …
Mind you, it’s still too hot. If I go outside, I sicken and melt like a cheap popsicle. Luckily, I can stay indoors, where A/C and fans keep the coolth inside the thick old walls of our 100-year old California cottage. I am become a nocturnal creature, racing out in the silky sauna air of the twilight to replenish the lime ices and Coke Life and salads and plums I live on. The murmuring dove sounds are replaced then with the soft murderous calls of owls, to which Harry replies with very quiet whistles: just enough to warn us, I think. Kage always thought so, anyway.
Suddenly, the heat and the dark and the boiling pearly fogs are all inspiring me. It’s part of this year’s August Revival, obviously; I am returning to life, Dear Readers, after the terrors and megrims of July. Hence my maundering on about the weather and what it means and does – it was ghastly and threatening last month, but today it has returned to that dim dreamy heat Kage so loved.
Part of that, of course, is the lovely welcoming comments from you, Dear Readers. Even though a couple of you think I am a spineless whinger, it’s cool: sometimes, that’s precisely what I am, and free speech must run free! I don’t mind being reminded to use my endo skeleton … but I also deeply appreciate the well wishes and encouragement the rest of you give me. You’re cool people, and I’m grateful to be able to pontificate to all of you.
I think tomorrow we shall return to some Company speculation, or maybe a treatise on new fruit. Kage stuff. In the meantime, I leave you with the thunder weather photo I have as my August wall paper – it’s very Kage stuff, too.