Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunny Simple Summer

We've had absolutely great weather since our return, sunny and cheerful.  The usual morning and evening fog hasn't appeared, and although last night it was too cool to go out without a jacket, this weather is exactly what we needed after the ridiculously unseasonable weather we've had in Europe this spring.  I expect the summer fog to come rolling in soon, but meanwhile, it's such a pleasure!

The weather isn't the only thing different about our lives at the moment.  For one thing, there's the car.  We don't walk anywhere.  No, that's not exactly true.  It would be more correct to say we walk for exercise, not for transport.  It's more than a mile downhill to get to my shopping street, and that means more than a mile uphill, laden with bags, to get back.  So, although yesterday we drove to the shoreline of the bay to walk along it for about an hour, any errand requires using the car.  This is not such a pleasure, since I'm really lazy and the need to plan exercise makes me do less of it, while the automatic exercise of walking in the city was really good for me and required no determination on my part.  I don't do determination well.

It seems to me that the major difference between our lives in Berkeley and in Paris is simply the difference between an active urban existence and a "laid back" suburban one.  In Paris popping out for a coffee down the street is a matter of minutes: walk down the stairs, out the door, and within 5 minutes you're sitting in a café, watching the world walk by.  Here, the need to get in the car, drive 10 minutes, find a parking space, etc. seems too much trouble, and once you get somewhere, the chances are slim of being somewhere the world is walking by; everyone else is in his car too.  And the coffee isn't as good and is served in a paper cup.

On the other hand, I'm writing this at my desk, in front of windows that look out on a redwood tree and a wall of green plants.  The deck just outside invites me to have that coffee at the table under a sheltering umbrella, and reading a book on the couch allows me to look up occasionally at the hawks circling over the canyon across the street.  Sweet.  For now.

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