Summer and Smoke

Post date: Jul 29, 2016 3:56:5 PM

A few moments of contemplation, please, for the beleaguered folks north of Big Sur who are living with, have homes destroyed or threatened, and the dedicated people fighting the Soberanes fire in Monterey County. As I write this, one man already lost his life fighting the fire. This wildfire of fierce proportions is on our minds a lot here, as the smoke is being blown almost straight south and even San Luis Obispo County is under air quality alerts. Our valley/canyon is filled with smoke and I'm sure the nearby canyons - Indian Valley and others - are too.

This is the view looking west (toward San Miguel).

And this is the view looking east, toward Parkfield.

When I was a kid, as most kids surely do, I looked forward to summer so much as a break from school. As a teacher and later as a university professor, I looked forward to summer as much, for the much-needed recharge. Now, however, I am coming to be much less enamored about summer. Things I hate about summer, in no particular order - the dryness, flies, danger of wildfires (although the wildfire threat is getting to be year-round), threat of monsoonal thunderstorms, and I'm not too crazy either about our ever-hotter summers, with temps regularly in the 100's Fahrenheit. This summer, the extreme high temperatures - nationwide - are a function of global warming exacerbated by El Nino in the Pacific.

What do I like about summer? The fence lizards hatch out and the babies are so cute, though too quick for me to get a photo. With a little luck, fresh tomatoes and other garden produce. I empathize with my friends who are still in school as students or teaching, as they take a much needed break. County fairs.