Monday, January 17, 2011

Under the Fog Monster's Butt

Oh, so dim.

Above the wad of fog that squats in the Central Valley, the sun is shining. In the foothills, people are slathering aloe vera gel on their sunburns, even while grinning at their own discomfort.

People are skiing in the sun, sweating under their down vests in the Sierras, wearing sunglasses to shield their eyes from the glare.

In the Bay Area, diners are sitting outside restaurants, with light sweaters over their shoulders, supping on small sandwiches and sweet, fruity California wines.

But here, from dawn until dusk, the sky is a uniform gray. In spite of knowing that in less than a month, the almond orchards will be beginning their bloom, the gray, low ceiling of the fog weighs on me. We're pretty much out of wood, so the furnace runs at night if the house gets below 64 degrees. During the day, we're setting the temperature at 68.

Crazy! During the sunny times of the year, 68 degrees would figure in my vocabulary as in "Oh, Lord, it's 68 degrees already at 8:00 in the morning! No wonder I'm sweating already! Turn on the fans!"

Today the house was 68, and I was freezing. My hands and feet felt so cold that they hurt, and I could not bear to touch myself, not even to scratch an itch on my bare skin. I put on gloves and a warm jacket, and started walking. Howie was quite agreeable to keep up a gentle jog as I walked as fast as I could. With the damp dark sky above, I prayed a Rosary while I walked, for someone I know who needs prayers very, very much, trying to elevate my mind out of being grumpy and cold.

Howie and I walked through an almond orchard, and my prayer stopped along with my footsteps, for a few moments of thankfulness. There, on the branch of a tree, were buds -- and on each one, pinpoints of white were peeking.

The fog will not last forever.

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