If I haven't tackled it over the weekend, my first task on Monday mornings is writing my weekly retail paragraph. This morning I got to welcome Halloween. In the paper crafting world, as with retail in general, holidays begin early, though card makers have a reason for the head start. Creating one-of-a-kind greetings takes time.
Southern California's weather, following days hot enough to leave our brightest citizens panting and witless, did a sharp U-turn with its usual false promise of autumn. It is a tease we know well, yet those of us who long to put the fans back on closet shelves think, just maybe, this could be it. As my sister, a Virginia resident, describes it, "The morning when you feel the snap in the air." Northern Virginia will be snapping while Los Angeles is still wriggling out of its sandy bathing suits.
The notion of back-to-school clothes was usually absurd. We picked styles we saw in the stores or Sears catalog, outfits that would bring on heat rash in a Pasadena September, yet there were years we wore them anyway. They were NEW clothes. Too many times the hottest days of the year coincided with the start of school. That spilled over into October when the Santa Ana winds kick up, often bringing fires. But by Halloween there were leaves to rake nearly every afternoon and the need of a costume-spoiling sweater - or the unthinkable coat - for trick or treating.
It is ungrateful to complain about our weather; this may have been the mildest summer on record and I certainly became spoiled by so many sweatless days and nights. After living in Washington, D.C. for one summer and visiting Raleigh, North Carolina, one July, I know I do not have the right stuff for that kind of heat and humidity. I used to reread Southern writers during the summer: Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote. Acclimating was the only possible way for a mind to wander along creative paths rather than spend hot days and nights in a stupor of writers' block. I admired and envied their flexibility.
Today the Los Angeles temperature was 57 degrees at 6 a.m., expected to reach a high of 74. Five days ago 74 was the overnight low in Pasadena. Our fluctuations seem more than meteorological; many of us, I among them, judging by our postings and conversations, seem to be commuting between other highs and lows, between quavering doubt and sturdy optimism. If climate changes have such an impact on something the size of our home planet, why would they not exert some power over lesser bodies? I can't swear that my glaciers have begun to shrink, but I intend to keep them under surveillance. They've become too unpredictable for my comfort.