Privilege Blog

Cold Feet In The Pacific On Saturday, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:27am

It’s Saturday in California! To be precise, an August Saturday, in Northern California! The whole rest of the weekend, and the rest of the month, stretch out ahead.

I’m in the mood for adventure. Just like the year when my children finally began to sleep through the night, after weeks of sofa-bound illness I feel my cheerful self return. Cheer demands we leave the sofa behind.

Where to go?

Maybe we”ll drive over the hill in search of fog.

Americans tend to visit Northern California in February and March. I understand why, much of the rest of the country is in snow and sleet. But here that time of year is usually rainy or chilly or both. Unpredictable in any case. In spring you won’t really understand why so many of us moved here, and once here, why we stay.

It’s probably a Saturday in August that brought us and kept us. Now our skies are blue. And blue and blue and blue. Blue like we invented it. Except along the coast. There, wet cold Pacific air meets dry inland heat and makes fog.

As a teen I spent one summer living in San Francisco. I loved to drive down the freeway anticipating inland skies. But it’s been so hot on the Peninsula lately, the months without rain so relentless, I’m in the mood for drizzle. I’m telling, you, come to Northern California in August.

Maybe we’ll drive over the hill to the Pacific. Maybe we’ll park in an asphalt lot along the highway, and make our way down one of the yellow cliffs to the wild. Hop from rock to cratered rock, balancing. Maybe the ocean, because it’s not a sea, make no mistake, maybe it’s gray-green. The waves will sweep across the sand, all white bubbles and sand rattles.

Our sand is neither Caribbean powder, nor British pebbles. Something in between.

Maybe I’ll take off my shoes and get my feet so cold in the water they hurt. One of those things like pimiento cheese — found young, loved forever, misunderstood by many. I feel the same way about sea anemones.

In any case, it’s Saturday. The first day of August. Time for an adventure. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


28 Responses

  1. You capture it perfectly. I’m a Brooklyn transplant and while there is much that I miss about NY, I do not miss the summers. August in Northern California is truly glorious. Have a marvelous adventure.

    1. @GS, Thank you. It was beautiful in Pescadero today, so beautiful I’m a little bit sunburned. And when I lived on the East Coast, I never minded the winters, only the summer.

  2. Oh yes, August on the Peninsula. I remember it well. We would drive over the hill to Half Moon Bay to play in the sand and water. Good times.

    Enjoy a wonderful adventure and may you get rain soon.

    1. @Mary Anne, That’s exactly what we did. And, thank you so much for the rain wishes. I wish I had some ruby heels to click together and bring it here.

  3. The title reminds me of that photo of you in your 20’s, standing in water somewhere (India)? A theme for you?

  4. I’ve been to northern California in June, July and September, but never August, I don’t think. This year we’re coming in October and my only requirement is that it had better be an improvement on Scotland in October.

    1. @Kirsty, I am now conflicted! I want rain terribly, but I guess I need to hope it waits until November;). Would a warmish rain be OK?

  5. We’ve never had stranger weather in LA than this summer. I hear New Yorkers saying “I didn’t move here to have a NY summer!” – hot, muggy, just horrible. No blue skies. I hope it’s nice up there at the beach, even foggy would be great.
    I loved my week of summer in Montana.

    1. @kathy, It was gorgeous. But way more like Los Angeles than Northern California. I am not sure what the world is coming to:(.

  6. Oh,how you describe it! I’ve seen scenes like this in movies only! It must be beautiful :-)! And funny! One have to be happy on a day like this! So,I wish you more of it,and than a day or two of rain,if you please!
    My little Adriatic sea is warm during summer (22-26 ºC),great for swimming,and it is usually hot (25-38º C) and sunny there. And in Zagreb,our capital where I live,we had great changes of all seasons. But now ,weather went nuts ,you never know what to expect!

  7. I would vote for walking to lands end and down the stairway to the secret beach – or better yet a weekend get away to Mendocino one of the best towns ever

    1. I’ve never done either – clearly I’ll need to rectify that. Thanks for the reminders!

  8. Oh it sounds so glorious! I’ve been to Northern California in September, as well as February and March, (which are still a great improvement over February in New York) and May. Someday I shall have to come in August.

  9. Lisa,

    Thank you for writing this today. Your descriptions pulled me along with you on this trip.. We lived in Pleasanton for several years. I love the blue(like we invented it!) and can smell the eucalyptus as we drive over the hill to Half Moon Bay. Now living in Geneva I sometimes think the sky is “California blue” but Lac Leman is placid unlike the mighty Pacific. Glad that you are feeling well..

    1. Thank you! And yes, the smell of eucalyptus. I am glad to hear that Switzerland too gives you that blue.

  10. This column was fresh air to me in hot, humid, often violently stormy south Florida. How I long for the mountains at this point of the never-ending summer! I am however filled with gratitude we have had no hurricanes this season but we still have until mid-November to be free of the threat. Northern California sounds so delightful; it’s part of what makes this blog so enticing.

  11. I thought our water was cold in the Atlantic, but my well-traveled husband (knowledge gained from a firefighting trip to Northern California back in the late 80’s when he was a Forest Ranger…pre-minister days), reliably informed me that the Pacific is cold!

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