The Joys Of A Northern California Winter, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:32am


It’s raining.

This is good.

I’m not sure how many of you know Northern California’s weather patterns. The general opinion is that California has no seasons. This is more true in Southern California, but still false over all.

We do have seasons. Registered best by the sensitive.

Let’s start with June. This is when full summer begins. We will likely not see rain again for 4 months, but if we do, the media will react as though we have discovered life on Saturn. Our sky will shine blue as a crayon, day in day out, small white clouds rare enough to name and invite home for dinner. Mostly the temperature will vary between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The one week of 90+ will send us into hysteria, and provoke mass fan-buying by those who live in pre-1980 houses without air conditioning.

All sorrow will be seared from our bones, all worry smoothed. Summer in Northern California can be directly valued by the aggregate market capitalization of Silicon Valley companies. In other words, approaching priceless.

But this glory might bore us, without winter. Those golden hills need new green grass, and that requires water. Sometimes the rains come in November, sometimes not fully until March. This year, the first showers showed up in October. And it feels that we are entering a time of long meditation. As though pesky thoughts will reach resolution, our chests will rise in breath to their full expansion, and end of songs will finally sound.

The media always misses the drama of November rain.

Pit pat, pit pat, spatter pat.

22 Comments

  • 11/17/12
    9:27 am

    Reply

    Anne said...

    As someone who also lives in Northern California (Mill Valley), I am loving the rain today. Yesterday was awfully nice too.
    Love your blog – thanks and have a happy Thanksgiving!

    11/19/12
    6:21 pm
    Lisa said...

    You have a happy Thanksgiving too.

  • 11/17/12
    9:41 am

    Reply

    adrienne shubin said...

    I am a lover of rain, having been mostly denied wet weather growing up in Las Vegas.
    I’m a northern California resident now (Kenwood) for going on 27 years and I still enjoy our rainy days – can’t get enough of them to be honest.

  • 11/17/12
    9:55 am

    Reply

    Philippa said...

    This is beautiful, Lisa. Such a great response to rain, too. One I will treasure.

  • 11/17/12
    10:12 am

    Reply

    PJ said...

    I work in the environmental field. Given the situation in California I too value and love the rain. I too am in Northern California.

  • 11/17/12
    10:29 am

    Reply

    Marcela said...

    It is the same in Cyprus. The first rains arrived last week and, we made a happy dance and sang, like Dr Seuss’ Mr Brown, dibble dibble dibble dop ;)

    11/19/12
    6:22 pm
    Lisa said...

    I love that image, dancing on Cyprus in the rain.

  • 11/17/12
    10:30 am

    Reply

    kathy said...

    I live in LA and we actually do have seasons, although usually within the same day. People from the east coast are always amazed at how much the temperature drops from day to night here, unlike in the east. Well, LA is really a desert, and it can get quite cold in the evening, even in summer.
    Today is gray, gloomy, and rain on it’s way. I’m thrilled, all bundled up on my way to a baby shower at a beach restaurant.
    I think we Californians are quite lucky. Lovely post Lisa.

  • 11/17/12
    11:43 am

    Reply

    hostessofthehumblebungalow said...

    Oh the rain here is torrential, the gutters are groaning and the puddles are vast.
    It’s definitely gum boot weather here in the Pacific Northwest.
    It’s like a monsoon with wind.

    Pit pat pt pat splatter pat sounds very gentle,
    almost verging on lady like.

    Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  • 11/17/12
    12:34 pm

    Reply

    JenC said...

    South Bay reporting in with appreciated rain too. Perfect post. I claim we have two seasons, brown and green. Enjoy the onset of green again!

  • 11/17/12
    12:36 pm

    Reply

    materfamilias said...

    Just came in from my weekly Long Slow Distance run in the pouring, pelting, cats-and-dogs rain. I’m with Hostess in thinking that “pit pat splatter pat” sounds pleasantly gentle.
    Like you Northern Californians, we’ve learned to define seasons more sensitively than our compatriots to the East. . . .
    Finished my run, now, I’m enjoying being inside by the woodstove, wearing a deep imprint in my armchair — enjoy your weekend!

  • 11/17/12
    1:10 pm

    Reply

    the gardeners cottage said...

    a truer post was never written!

    we do have seasons dammit! haha.

    you are right, they are just so subtle but as a california native i’m highly attuned to them.

    the rain woke me at 3am and continued for a few hours. the sound of rain at night is so relaxing.

    thanks for your lovely words today. xo

  • 11/17/12
    1:18 pm

    Reply

    pve said...

    November Rain is one of my favorite colors from Benjamin Moore.
    I do love the sound of rain and how soothing it can be.
    pve

  • 11/17/12
    4:32 pm

    Reply

    rb said...

    I have work visitors from Sydney AUS for a few weeks. They just came from summer weather, of course.

    One woman said she needed to buy some warmer things this weekend because she didn’t realize San Francisco would be so cold.

    She asked me the typical range of temperatures here. I thought for a moment and then said around 50 – 70 degrees.

    Which I had then had to convert to celsius, which was something like 10-20 C.

    She said, “Really, only ten degrees in range?” like I was nuts. (And the way she said “range” sounded really cute, too.)

    I never thought about it that way, to tell you the truth, but I guess she’s right.

  • 11/17/12
    4:36 pm

    Reply

    Candace said...

    I love the sound of rain, too, and how fresh the air is when it is over. We do have fall colors in the OC when the temps drop into the 40′s in November. Beautiful yellows, oranges, reds and burgundys flame from the liquid ambers lining the streets.
    My fflannel sheets go on when it “drops” into the 50′s at night. I like JenC’s green and brown seasons. That about sums it up!

  • 11/17/12
    4:45 pm

    Reply

    Duchesse said...

    Rain has such resonance and promise. I miss the house we left 18 months ago; we’d installed a metal roof, and the rain plonked on it like a drum. Hearing a storm blow up, while being snug in a house is a deep pleasure. Lovely post, Lisa.

    11/19/12
    6:23 pm
    Lisa said...

    Resonance and promise. Thank you.

  • 11/18/12
    2:56 am

    Reply

    Mags said...

    Oh how I do remember the humbling rain. Fondly more appreciative it has made me, as did all the California seasons. Enjoy!

  • 11/18/12
    7:26 am

    Reply

    Marilyn said...

    Lisa, have a happy Thanksgiving. I hope you’ll be able to spend it with your loves. I know it’s a short time for long flights but sometimes we just need those hugs whatever the traveling inconvenience. Enjoy the holidays.

  • 11/18/12
    8:59 am

    Reply

    mette said...

    We certainly have seasons, temperatures varying between 84F down to -22F !
    Sun, clouds, wind, rain, sleet and snow.
    When the northern wind blows and it is lower than 5F, it is c o l d !
    It´s hard to breathe when it is -22F.
    Forgetting the climate, Finland is the best place in the world to live in!

  • 11/18/12
    10:06 am

    Reply

    Alice said...

    Lovely. I grew up in NorCal, and am now living in SoCal. I miss the turning of the seasons up there! The lovely trees. (However I would add that inland N CA gets up to 100+ easily in the summer. Whew.) I have been turning on my heater down here first thing in the morning out of habit, and then realizing that while my house is a bit “chilly,” it is not the freezing temperature my half-awake mind assumed it was.

  • 11/18/12
    10:36 am

    Reply

    Rubiatonta said...

    It’s been raining on and off here in Madrid for the last few weeks — just when you’re good and sick of it, the skies clear and you’re treated to that searing blue of the Castillian sky. Those of us in the city are very happy that it’s raining on schedule, since it keeps the pollution down to liveable levels, and in the country of course, the fields and reservoirs are in dire need — last winter it barely rained at all!

    I do laugh a bit, as a New England-raised native Californian, when people complained about the “cold” (low 50s) last week. If my legs weren’t so pale, I probably wouldn’t have tights on yet. And I’m still barefooting it around the house.

    11/19/12
    6:24 pm
    Lisa said...

    I love this – rain around the world!

  • 11/18/12
    10:37 am

    Reply

    Ida said...

    Remember chanting pit pat watching the rain drops sliding down the windows.

    I could never live in a country without seasons,I had better be careful Summer missed us this year!

    No other country than our green British Isles for me.Ida

  • 11/19/12
    4:41 am

    Reply

    Darla said...

    The rain was a joy indeed. I even liked looking at the somewhat soggy leaves as I took a walk yesterday.

    Darla

  • 11/19/12
    8:37 am

    Reply

    Virginia said...

    Love hearing thoughts on weather — rain is especially introspective.

    Here on the other side of the country in New England, our leaves are now brown whispers in the corner of the yard. The sky is vivid blue, but the wind is blowing cold in our faces. We soak up the cool sunshine as much as we can. Gathering it up like squirrels before the long, dark winter arrives.

    11/19/12
    6:24 pm
    Lisa said...

    Glorious. Glorious and thank you.

Post a Comment

I thoroughly enjoy your comments. If you find this form is broken, my apologies. Please email me and I will rage against the machine.

required
required but will not be displayed
optional