Tuesday, July 3, 2007

California Terrain

I find myself in California for the first time in 24 years. Last time I was merely passing through, and actually saw very little of the countryside. This time, I am spending a week in and around the San Francisco Bay area. A few general observations about the countryside today. Perhaps more to come about the people and our particular reason for being here.

It seems silly to say it, but this sure is different from NH. The shape of the hills is different. The colors are different. The plant life is different. The terrain is dominated by hills covered with tan colored grasses, offset by swaths of trees. The greenery seems to mostly settle into the folds and crevices of the land, apparently seeking out the water that channels into them. Up close, you can see there are many different types of grasses, but from a distance they take on a uniform, almost mowed appearance. It’s quite beautiful and so alien to my eastern eyes, so used to land and ecology shaped by glaciers and by lots and lots of rain water.

I notice a distinct difference in the air. It dry. Pleasantly, delightfully dry. Humidity? What’s that. Granted, I have not spent any time yet in San Francisco itself, which I understand is typically much cooler, cloudier, and even damp. And, this is only one short slice of time out of the year. Even so, the air appears remarkably clear and clean. This in spite of the density of population. The color of the sky has been a beautiful cerulean blue, accented with just the right amount of clouds to prevent a frightening uniformity. The temps have been perfect, although when we travel to Merced later this week it threatens to get up to over 100 degrees F. Those of us from the Northeast like to say about the climate out west that “It’s hot, but it’s a dry heat.” As if that makes it better. I shall test out the truth of that adage. As they say where I’m from, “It ain’t the heat. It’s the humdidy.” We’ll see.

I’m a little surprised by the appearance of San Francisco Bay. It’s an opaque chalky green color. While flying in, it took me a while to realize that we were actually flying over the bay. I was expecting blue, or maybe a clearer more translucent green color. I’m not sure why it looks the way it does, or whether that’s a bad thing or not. It just looks a lot different from what I expect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what do you think of dry heat?
Ron Jung