How’s the weather down there?

Todd always phoned in the morning and said ” how’s the weather down there?”   We lived only 20 miles apart but he realized that there were micro-climates in the Bay Area.  He just didn’t really understand how they functioned.  Its fairly simple.  In the Summer months, if it is hot inland, the Central Valley, and usually Berkeley and the East Bay, then it can very likely be foggy here on the coast.   But in the Winter months, if it is raining in Berkeley, it is raining everywhere.  Berkeley does not really have its own weather system (though there can be fog in North Berkeley passing from the Golden Gate inland).      So his question would be followed by either ” its BEAUTIFUL here!” or “its WRETCHED here”.

And I knew he was not always talking about the weather.   The weather for him was a barometer of the potential for lifting his mood.  If it was BEAUTIFUL on the coast, he might have a chance of pulling it together and coming down to visit, fishing, kayaking and probably lifting his mood significantly.   It it was WRETCHED (pronounced ‘wretch-id”), he would have an excuse for ill-tempered musings, playing violent video games all morning, maybe slumping out to some movies in Berkeley.

I know this system really well.   After Todd checked out, the weather out here was stunning.  It was embarrassingly Summery.  Embarrassing because the East Coast and Midwest saw the most incredible spate of snow and ice in recent memory.   But I didn’t really want the great weather either.  I wanted to hide under the covers and watch On-Demand movies all day.  Read, write and hide. Force the dog to pee on the rug, never drive anywhere and live on popcorn and cereal.   But I couldn’t.  Had to sit and soak up the sun, reminding myself that the Vitamin D was good for my mood disorder (death of sibling); walk the dog and meditate on the mountain; practice surfing on warm weekdays when no one was in the water; smile at others in the coffee shop.    It seemed ironic, couldn’t the weather just cooperate with our dark intensity.   This basking fling lasted for weeks, we’d never seen anything like it this time of year.

Yesterday, it ended.   We’ve got some dark grey, we’ve got some Winter wind, we’ve got flying rain and drizzle, we’ve got a forecast with nothing else in sight.   Yet I’m strangely lit inside.  I’ve worked my way through to a sort of peace and inner strength all these sunlit weeks.  I’ve spent sleepless nights with dark thoughts and tortured voices. I’ve moved from dependence on narcotics for sleep and euphoria to trying herbs to induce peace and calm to just plain drinking Sleepytime tea last night and mostly getting a full night’s rest.   So now, finally,  the gloom deigns to descend.  Now that I don’t need it anymore, now that I wouldn’t be caught dead in a matinee, now that I’m not afraid of the coffee shop.

How’s the weather over there?

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