Random notes from California:
We slipped away in the death grip of pre-dawn, the 13-degree air biting our faces and seeping through our light clothing. I knew that by the time I reached my destination, these same clothes that did little to fend off the painful cold would become sweat-inducing extra layers.
It’s been a wonderful respite to see a dome of deep blue overhead instead of the endless gray blanket. It’s been refreshing to splash and wade in the Pacific Ocean surf at Santa Monica, to feel — feel! — the sun on my skin. In the north, even if the sun is out and overhead, it has about all the warmth of a 25-watt lightbulb.
I have not coughed, hacked, blown my nose excessively or had to use any OTC products in order to breathe. Additionally I have not had to repeatedly slather Aquaphor on my hands, elbows and knees.
Is it possible to believe that the drivers here in Los Angeles and surroundings seem nicer than in Detroit? I’ve heard about the traffic out here, and it does appear to be clogged and grid-locked on the expressways. Yet, people here actually allow us to cross a street without threatening to plow us down. Red lights actually stop traffic. Is this an anomaly? Am I hallucinating?
All the walking, fresh air, sunshine, clear skies, greenery and life moving about freely is an awakening. Being a creature of the north who never, ever goes away in winter, I simply grow accustomed to the hibernation state of the dark months. We stay indoors most of the time, acclimate to the gray dimness and seeping cold. We accept the near-depressed mental state.
For a few days I imagine a different life.