Revisiting Winter

I am fond of saying that I arrived to live in San Francisco during a heatwave, right in the middle of May (nineteen years ago now), and was firmly told not to get used to it. This May has been far from hot and sunny: in the last week we have had several storm systems moving through, including some thunder on Sunday morning, and a number of heavy downpours – with the cold and damp, it felt like we had turned the clock back to January or February.
Amongst the current chatter is a feeling that this is quite unprecedented, but I do happen to remember a year when there were similar spells of wet weather in May – the year I decided to do a spring road trip in California rather than going back to England. It was a beautiful trip, but I remember heavy rain as I left the Bay Area, snow falling in Yosemite, as well as the temperature of 32 degrees with more falling snow as I drove around Lake Tahoe on Memorial Day…

Generally speaking, you don’t expect to have to plan around the weather at this time of year – and I hope things are dry for this weekend’s roam – but I was scheduled to officiate a wedding last weekend. The young couple had chosen a beautiful spot in the Santa Cruz mountains for the ceremony, and when the forecast talked of rain moving through the area during the morning, they asked if we could move the time from 10am to 8am; since the day was the anniversary of their becoming a couple, there was no talk of changing the date!
Of course this necessitated an earlier start from the city in my rental car, but nothing out of my usual morning range (although I tend to sleep badly when I have an alarm set, and this was no exception).
We did manage to complete the proceedings without getting wet (unlike my last wedding), even with the groom taking some time to get a drone launched to snap some atmospheric shots of the wedding party after the ceremony. I joked to the next couple on my docket (a mid-July wedding in the East Bay hills) that I expect nothing less from now on.

As it happens, there were also drones when we sat at the Embarcadero on Monday. Every so often, one of the city’s art schools brings a bunch of people down to fly drones over the water right by where we are – with someone from the FAA in attendance to ensure fair play. In a lovely juxtaposition, the drones were matched, at least in number and agility, if not size and noise, by some dragonflies, which have been appearing recently. It was a day of sunshine and piled white clouds, with the usual profusion of birds (especially the seagulls who tend to dive on the drones much as crows harass hawks, though to even less effect), boats of all sizes, bicycles and butterflies, dogs and skateboards, traffic and insects, runners and walkers. All part of the rich scenery of the sit.

Just for good measure, it rained on and off through the day on Tuesday as well, though now, fingers crossed, we may have seen the back of it for a while.

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 08.40.19A screenshot from the drone footage the couple kindly sent on.

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