Fortunate fog and lucky summer sunshine


Life in San Francisco has a myriad of benefits, but a sunny, warm summer is not one of them.I've lost track of the number of summer days I've awakened to the drab color and dense feel of our thick, misty morning fog. Of course, we are aware that this thick, white blanket usually burns off as the day warms, but the absence of even a single ray of morning sunshine starts my day on a somber note. It seems to take more energy to put on a happy face and gear up for the day's challenges.As our somber summer drags on, we remind ourselves of our good fortune. If we really want to feel warm sunlight, we know it can be found within minutes---by driving north, south or east. Life in The City offers great views from almost any neighborhood, but few districts escape the doldrums of the thick summer fog. For some of us, there is a mild depression that starts to settle in when the back-to-school ads start to appear, signaling the end of a summer that we missed, yet others enjoyed.Of course, many people move to this beautiful city because they love the sameness of the weather, the reliable coolness and mildness. As I prepare for a trip to one of my favorite cities, Chicago, I am reminded of the reason I don't live there: its radical, extreme weather--- the incapacitating, frigid, wind-chilled winter and the merciless summer heat and humidity.As drab as our San Francisco summer mornings and late afternoons may be, we can usually look forward to sunshine during the middle of the day. I, for one, appreciate the symbolism of our summer weather pattern. It's like life, constantly shifting and full of wonder and surprise. Like our lives, our earliest days may begin in a mist; we are not quite able to see our futures, but we grow to recognize the outlines of the hills, landmarks and obstacles in our environment.Eventually, as we approach our thirties, the perceptual fog of youth clears and the sunshine of comprehension bathes us in warmth and clarity. Finally, we see where our lives are headed and the prospects look good. Later, as our lives advance, the clarity of middle age gives way to the gradually overcast skies of our senior years. We can see everything around us, but the blinding, harsh light from above creates a stark landscape, illuminating the world's ills. Aches, pains and ailments begin to intrude on our sunny view of the world. In our final days, the mental fog of youth returns and we revert to a time where it is hard to always know who and where we are, and our lives acquire the misty outlines of nostalgia for the good, old days.That's why it pays to pay attention and to appreciate each and every day of our lives. If we are thoughtful enough to store our brilliant memories and feelings from one sunny day to the next, those foggy bookends of our days will have little effect on our spirits, because we will have had the good fortune to be able to perceive the clear, crisp contours of the startling, sparkling, paradise we call summer.Oh! We are oh, so lucky to live here right now.