Amblin' Alameda: The rains return

Amblin' Alameda: The rains return

Morton Chalfy

It's always been “Sunny Southern California,” and that's just the natural way of things. Except for this dry winter full of sunshine and moderate temperatures when the “Southern” disappeared and the whole state basked and tanned and dried out to a fare-thee-well. But now, at last, the rains have returned. There's a long way to go before the reservoirs are filled again and Drought Emergency Measures are once more forgotten, but the rains, bless 'em, are back again.

Walking in the rain - at least, in a heavy drizzle - is challenging into the wind, but much less so with the wind to one's back. And walking in the drizzle along Shoreline is like returning home after a long absence. The skies are gray, but not in a bad or threatening way. The bay looks cold and uninviting as it probably should and San Francisco is shrouded in mist, lending the city an air of mystery and promise that is not so apparent in bright sunshine.

I have to admit that watching national TV during the past several months has given rise to feelings of smugness as winter storms wreaked havoc across the nation and our fair state remained, well, fair. Sunny, warmish and south of the track of the jet stream carrying polar air with which to beat the rest of the country. Who could not feel smug receiving e-mails and phone calls from friends and relatives back in the snowy, freezing Midwest and Northeast bemoaning the weather fates and envious of our good fortune.

But smugness is not an attractive emotion and when connected to weather phenomena it is entirely misplaced. And it was so unnatural, so out of our regular character that it made every day seem stranger and more different the longer it went on. At least now those feelings of living in an eerie sort of time-warp have been dissipated. The rains have returned, winter is assuming its normal aspect and we can all feel good and natural again.

It is interesting to see how every little weather event is seized on by both the climate change and anti-climate change forces as evidence in support of their positions. Cold polar vortexes are supposed to prove that global warming is a hoax on one hand and evidence of the shifting climate on the other. This despite the carefully worded pronouncements from the scientific community that it is only over time that patterns can be seen and assessed. Nobody who advocates for any position has the luxury of time, only the demands of the news cycle.

So I content myself with little pleasures, walking in the rain, returning home a little chilled and with rosy cheeks and happy to sit by the proverbial fireside to warm and dry myself. With the cats adorning my easy chair and the house temperature in the low seventies and the patter of rain drops off the eaves outside I'm a happy camper, back in the natural Bay Area.