It is almost January, San Francisco’s one month where Winter shows her teeth and brings some serious chill to the air. Not snows or blizzards or sub-zero temperatures, but rain, heavy sweaters hauled from the closet and gloves when bike-riding. The free-standing heater in our house is like the Little Engine That Could, huffing and puffing while chanting “I think I can, I think I can.” Heat all the six rooms in our house, that is.
Returned last night to our house that was empty for 7 days and the cold had moved in. Three hours of the heater full blast had little effect and though I wanted to do the rare thing of keeping it on all night, my wife by habit had shut it off and so the morning has a bite to it. Cold inside, cold outside, with rain and the hopes to bike with the grandkids or have them try out their new rollerblades dashed. Maybe time to bring the electric train set up from the basement and bring out the board games.
January here will also bring the first blooms on the magnolia trees, so it is nothing like my New Jersey childhood when the magic of December snows started to turn to the slush and relentless cold of February that had me longing for March and April to hurry up. In my older age, I can see the appeal of the move to Florida (weather-wise, certainly not politically!), the pleasure of not having to use skin as border guard, but let it relax and open to the air. Yet in terms of culture and nature and food and friends, San Francisco it is, January and all.
The heater chugs on, the rain beats on the window panes, the bags are unpacked, the grandkids awakening— I’m home.