I grew up in Boston with four seasons, each with special aspects to them. The sweet smell of Springtime and cutting grass for neighbors to earn money; the foliage of Autumn and the wonderful smell of burning leaves and the ‘swooshing’ of fallen leaves in the gutters as we walked to and from school; the hot and humid Summers and days at the beaches and amusement parks; and the cold, snowy winters – offering the hopes of “No School” announcements on the radio in the morning and the opportunity to earn money by shoveling drive and walkways. Surrounded by American history and the architecture and ambiance of one of our country’s oldest cities. Complete in its own way.
Then on to college in the Midwest where the Falls and Springs were brief, the summers long and heavy and the winters simply unfit for human inhabitation. Finally, following Horace Greeley’s sound advice of year’s gone by, “Go West young man,” we did. We wound up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have never, for a singular moment, regretted the decision to bring ourselves here. (My wife’s history began as a child in New York City, but has been, since then, much like my own.)
There are only two seasons here – wet and dry. The dry season is usually warmer and the wet colder. The temperature drops below freezing, on average, one or two nights a year. The sun is often out on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It agrees with me, though it certainly is quite a change from what I grew up with. That took a little getting used to. Heat does happen in the summer – but not in the extreme and without the suffocating humidity of the East, Midwest or South East. The Pacific is not the Atlantic. It took quite a few visits to the coast to appreciate the difference – not least among them the fact that here, the sub sets rather than rises over the ocean. Backwards, but lovely in its own way.
There are two fundamental groupings of people out here. There is the group that has been here for many generations, and the other – of which my wife, child and grandchildren are a part, who resettled here from other parts of the country within the last 30-40 years. There seems little tension between the two groups and, at least here in the Northern part of the State, the attitudes are, generally, liberal. So much so, in fact, that there has always been some discussion – especially taking into account the sheer vastness of California – that it should really be divided into two States. I expect that this is about as likely as Quebec successfully seceding from Canada to become its very own French speaking country. Not likely. We coexist and in that coexistence, there is a confluence of intellectual, spiritual and artistic energy like nothing I have experienced anywhere else.
In brief, that’s it. If you feel that where you are is not – or is no longer – ‘right’ for you, give a change some thought. While I realize that California would not seem the right place to everyone (nor would I want everyone to come here!) – it may be just the kind of place that would be right for you. Give it a thought.