When Summer Never Really Won


We had a change in the weather in the last couple of days, nothing major but nice enough.  In the morning, the marine layer dominated the lower levels and pushed the drier air back to the desert.  This left things cooler, and just a bit humid.

Or maybe more poetic, think of things having a fall feel to it.  Cooler air, fog, the smell of the dried grasses and leaves finding the moisture they hadn’t seen in months.  Southern California Augusts are hot; though far from the worst.  Heat in the nineties means most daytime and early evening activities become a challenge but not impossible.  The things you typically do outside you wait to do for another day – but you don’t avoid.  Plants and things, unwatered, have died usually set up for what is our typical burn season in September and October.  The cooler mornings recently are a break from that pattern.  It’s not fall weather, because it’s dry and windy in the fall here.  This is more unique, the mornings of the spring with the heat of summer.

It made me remember a few days back some seven years ago.

For new readers to the Bear Feed, something I should tell you about my life.  I used to live in Alaska.  In fact, the Bear Feed started as a way to tell friends and family about what it was like in Alaska.  The first posts were basically the last days before leaving my previous home in Wichita, and it’s that transition that popped into my head these mornings.

Weather-wise, moving from Wichita to Anchorage couldn’t haven’t been more drastic.  It was the first week of August 2012.  I spent the last two weeks in Wichita in a poorly air-conditioned house during 100° days preparing to move.  The nights were no reprieve, as it rarely dropped below 85° after the sun went down.  There was no rain, no humidity, just a steady hot wind coming across the plains and drying out every bit of you.  I stepped onto a plane at 8am when it already was 95°; then stepped off much further north where the high for the day was 55°.  Overcast.  Foggy.  The clouds curling along the mountains as if screaming for attention.  The roads were wet, but not from rain but just not having a good reason to get dry.

There’s a song lyric I love, “Summer’s beginning to give up the fight”.  As much as I love that lyric, I don’t really see that here.  Wichita, like SoCal, goes from the bursting heat of summer to the dried leftover of what couldn’t survive.  Around here, it’s Spring that gives up the fight.

In Anchorage, summer never really won.  The warmth hovered like a reason to wear a t-shirt, but the mornings came with that wet mist it hid in the corner.  I liked it that way, though.  I would keep the windows open all the time, wrapping myself in blankets, even for months into the fall.  I could smell the plants, the trees, the moss, the dirt.  The cool air surrounding me reminding me that life lived there.

When I first moved to Anchorage in 2012, I lived in a small apartment rented by the week.  Fully furnished, it was intended for long term vacationers (and Mormon missionaries, but that’s a different story).  I cooked fish curries, pancakes, potatoes sitting at a barstool counter.  The TV didn’t work, so I would spend my evenings streaming shows in the early days of Netflix.  I went to bed early, though, not to sleep but to lie in that bed, comfortable and warmly tucked, to listen to the world and to feel the cool air come in.  The part of town I was in was actually a bit sketchy.  One night there was an angry discussion between a homeless gentleman and a guy who just wanted to go home.  I remember nothing of the details of that discussion, but I remember it for the air, the cool, the comfort I felt in that little apartment.

I sometimes think that a good conversation can begin just with talk of the weather.  That’s not really my point with this post.  I just liked how the weather these last couple of days made me remember a happy time in my past.  The last couple of weeks, I’ve struggled to keep the blog going, struggled to find something worth writing about.  I’ve had a couple of little challenges to my memory, so I began to think maybe it’s timed to capture some of those things I want to remember.  So I might be using this blog to capture them, remember them, share them.

If you have a problem with that and you would rather talk about the weather … I hear that the weather channel does some things with maps and hurricanes.


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