Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Falling For California

It took me a couple of years to fall in love with California. Oh, I liked it well enough and, heaven knows! it was milder than Rochester, New York from where I had moved, but it didn't feel like home.  I was reminded of all the times in my younger life when my Navy family upped stakes and moved every couple of years. It always took some time to figure out my new surroundings, get used to the local quirks, and find a bunch of like-minded people as friends.

That first summer, while I was hunting for a job, I'd do my housework and my job searching in the mornings while the fog was in, trying to ignore the fact that it wasn't very sunny. When one moves to California, one expects sunny. It's part of the mystique. Foggy mornings just aren't depicted on the travel posters. When I called my New York friends for a pick-me-up, I was always aware of the lack of local pals.

Happily, all those gray mornings paid off with a great job and, along with that came the friends - a whole office full of people I learned to love and who loved me back. It was a magical few years, and those folks are still some of my best California buds. That fall, as I boarded the BART train each morning in the brilliant sunshine, I felt as if the promise of California had come true.

I have lived here long enough, now, that it does feel like home. The warm, sunny fall days no longer surprise me. Fall is always my favorite time of year here. The fog retreats but the sun has lost some of its strength. There are the occasional searing hot days to make me grateful for the ones with a little tang in the air and the sky is brilliantly blue for days on end. Days when a stroll around the square in Sonoma might show you a guy hanging his bare feet out of the car window while he has a nap inside. Days when hanging out the wash is a pleasure. Days when walking Cora the three blocks downhill to get a cup of coffee (and panting the three blocks back up) can be done in shirt sleeves. Days when reading a good book outside in the shade is the finest thing one could do of an afternoon.

Our son-in-law just moved here from Boston. I know just how he is feeling as he alternately marvels at the beauty of northern California and shakes his head in mystification at some of the quirks of Californians. I can remember thinking Californians were wimps when they complained if the temperature dropped below 65 in the daytime; Jim clearly thinks that of me now. I can remember being surprised by the laid back attitudes here and the insistence on a quality lifestyle; Jim is learning about that. I'm pretty confident that he will fall for California, too, as I have - after all, if he was back in Boston, he'd be raking leaves in a heavy jacket and gloves right now.

And fall in California has a way of seducing the toughest heart with its golden hills and warming sun - not to mention the lovely people. I'm a sucker for California in the fall.


Blogger Greg said...

California dreaming! When I moved from back east I thought it was all Beach Boys and surfing. Took a while to figure out that was L.A.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013  
Blogger Katie Zeller said...

I've always thought that northern CA must be nice.... and Oregon. Much better climate than Minnesota LOL
But here we are in France - also much better than MN LOL He'll settle in....

Thursday, October 17, 2013  
Blogger Diane said...

I love your love story. And the photo is great with those feet!

Thursday, October 17, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, yes, the travel posters were all taken in LA, but I'm glad I live here.

Katie, Oregon's climate is very different from here. Mulch more rain, so it's greener. But also grayer.

Diane, it was fun taking that photo. Fun thing to run into.

Thursday, October 17, 2013  

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