I needed climate change.


Beautiful-Ocean-Sunset (Photo credit: Jeffpro57)

I used to live in California. San Diego, to be precise. Del Mar, to be preciser. Yep, I know it’s not a word, but it fits.

I lived with what real estate agents referred to as a “blue water view.” Folks who bought houses with a “white water view” had an extra zero slapped on to the end of their house’s price tag.

Still, I thought the house was divine. It was at the top of a long ridge, less than a mile from the great Pacific Pool and an easy stroll down to bistros, boutiques and beaches.

A constant breeze blew from the sandy sidewalks straight up the hill and through our open windows. I can’t remember a day when we turned on the air conditioning or the heat.

A baby wearing many items of winter clothing: ...

The climate was perfect.

I hated it.


I never had goose bumps, never reached for a sweater. I passed up the deodorant isle at the drug store—didn’t buy it because I never broke a sweat. Every day was like the last: breezy, blue and beautiful.

And boring.

I moved out of perfection as fast as I could.

I craved brooding, roiling clouds filled with drenching sheets of rain.

I wanted booming thunder that would sometimes rumble across the skies like a stretched out line of levitating men playing timpani and at other times crack with such force I’d think the result was an irreparable rift in the sky.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

I missed splits of lighting that charged the atmosphere with the smell of static electricity, and that made the hairs on my arms stand briefly at attention.

I needed dense, impenetrable snowfall to blanket and silence the earth.

I sought air so cold it crackled, bright and sharply blue.

I hunted for icicles sword-like and jagged.

I desired weather so far on one side of the climate pendulum it would require binoculars to see its contrasting position. Or maybe just six months.

The feeling of moving one’s body from one extreme to the other is addictive. Imagine …

Soaking in an outdoor hot tub, your skin so pink your face flushes like a bashful schoolgirl. On the count of three, you suck in your breath and leap out of the tub into a powdery drift of snow. You roll, you shriek, you shock your body. Rewind, redo and repeat. Now you’re Swedish.

Girl in midair during a swan dive into a lake

Girl in midair during a swan dive into a lake (Photo credit: UW Digital Collections)

How about this …

You’ve woken early, popped your broad brimmed hat atop your head, and squatted for hours under a blazing, unforgiving sun as you weed, trim, pick and prune. The garden is fragrant from spellbinding waves of heat. You smell the pungent, earthy soil and the heady and highly perfumed calling card of piquant petals. You hear the drowsy response of droning bumblebees, and the washing waves of cicadas who announce on a time warped loop that the weather is sticky and sizzling. Sweat trickles and stings in your eyes. You stand, strip and dive into the pool. For an instant you are stunned with the collision, your mind astonished at the clashing antithesis of intense opposition.

It’s worth it.

Worth broiling your body to quench an internal fire with frosty, sweet iced tea. Worth numbing the tips of your fingers, toes and sluggish tongue to spread infusing warmth that can only come from a cup of chocolate soup.

Ice cubes in a glass

Yes, it’s been a wild ride this summer. Dame Nature has given us a taste of fire and brimstone. It hasn’t been easy for many. For some it’s been downright cruel.

Within the face of triple digits I’ve tasted more sweat, but I’ve also tasted more ice cream, felt the drench of a hose and a sprinkler spray across my face and cherished every ice cube.

For me … this is living, this is life. This is weather.


Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery this week (here) and what we’re all talkin’ about down in the pub (here)!


15 thoughts on “I needed climate change.

  1. Me too!! I look forward to the changing Seasons and what each one brings. My friends often jet off somewhere hot at Christmas… but I crave cold weather, log fires and Winter food. Besides, being British, what on earth would I talk about if the weather was constant?!? 😉

    • Well … if you hurry there’s a tiny window where you can chat about the whole world of sweating, struggling, super-skilled athletes. Then … it’s back to the weather and the royals. 🙂

    • Just when you think you can’t stand one more notch in the temperature you realize it’s gone up two. And then you realize – hot is hot. You’re uncomfortable, but so is everybody else. It’s not a personal experience, therefore you don’t get to complain about it. Except if it’s hidden within the text of a blog. 😉

  2. Wonderful essay!! And agreed — a little variety in the weather is a good thing. Although not a fan of ice and snow, I do like my Christmas cold on the outside with a lovely fire inside by the tree.

    • I’ve had a couple of close-to-the-equator Christmases, and as much as I’ve tried to enjoy the experience, my body rebels and grows mutinous. I practically ruin it for everyone as I spend most of it with my head in the freezer, eyes closed and humming anything by Bing Crosby. It takes a lot of noise to drown out steel drum musicians.

  3. I agree whole heartedly! I lived for several years in Berkeley CA while in grad school and working. I can only remember two weekends in about 6 years in which plans had to be changed due to inclement weather. The bay area was greenish for three months and brown for nine months. It was boring. I got away to the mountains as much as possible, and in fact did research at a lovely gold mine on the Feather Fork River near La Porte … the Sierras were most accomodating when it came to weather … and hunted the high desert of eastern CA … reminded me a bit of the Serengeti. The weather crappy days make one appreciated the gorgeous ones all the more. Plus, the feeling of a coming storm is wonderful … the electricity in the air before a thunderstorm … or the first flakes of a blizzard … exhilerating! Of course, having to cut 40 plus trees after this last major virginia storm is less than fun, it is all part of the cycle of life. Thanks for the great story! Gary
    p.s. I do seem to have a tad excess of humidity this summer … anyone want to trade … just a smigeon?

    • If you don’t mind the temps, but could really do without the humidity, you could always try setting up camp in your oven. That’s totally dry heat. Like living in Las Vegas, but without the showgirls.

  4. Bravo for a delightful and descriptive post. As one infused with reptilian blood and only begins to thaw when others drop by the wayside of heat-stroke, I happily read of others’ exploits in the realm of cold. Had to laugh at gkrogerspe’s comment. When I lived in the Bay Area, I required thermal underwear, a full-length fur coat, fur hat, and leather gloves.

    • Wow, Tana, you really are a hot-blooded woman! I find I’m a pure puddle of limp when in the heat. Good for nobody. When the weather dips into the range of “Calvin” temperature reading, I finally feel revived. Takes all kind, huh?

  5. I don’t remember receiving this post, but I road on the wings of a “comment.” Shelley. Wow. If I were the editor of a magazine…I’d reel this story in like a fish! This one is poetry. This one is VIVID (I felt and tasted it all!) And the pics are great. Five Star, girl. Five Star.

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