You Tell Me Summer’s Here

My annual Tahoe trip is really my summer. Sure, San Francisco has Indian Summer. In September and October, it’s usually warmer or at least less foggy. But the key word is usually. Even in September and October, sunshine isn’t guaranteed, it’s just more likely.

In Tahoe, though, I can rely on a daily dose of sunshine (with occasional breaks for balmy thunderstorms). It’s one of the few times when I get repeated, back-to-back hot days, days when I wear sandals every day and never carry around a jacket “just in case” (as required in unpredictable SF).

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In Tahoe, showers come at the end of the day to wash off the sweat, the sand and the sunscreen, rather than in the morning to prepare for work.

Even the nights were warm so we ate dinner outside and slept with the windows open and the fans going strong. This year, we even took nighttime swims under the stars (the low lake level made for relatively warm water).

But as much as I loved my dose of sunshine, I’m not used to unrelenting heat anymore, and at times, it was too much. I missed the ocean breeze we get in the Bay Area.

And I missed California produce while I was in Tahoe. Finding California-grown produce was surprisingly hard near the state line. If it weren’t for the Tuesday South Lake farmers market, it’d be a food desert.

I walked through the supermarkets in disbelief, asking myself, “how do people live here?!” The local Raley’s had Straus milk and yogurt, but not a single California-grown tomato. The Chilean/Canadian/Mexican tomatoes they did carry were hard as rocks.

Now that I’m back home, I’m back to fresh food and strong coffee, but summer’s gone. I came back to Mark Twain’s “coldest winter”: the fog hasn’t lifted for days, and the wind is cold and damp. People on BART have been wearing sweaters, and a friend turned her heater on this week.

As I looked for my wool coat this morning, I found myself asking the same question: How do people live here?!

In Tahoe, we stayed outside as long as possible, but now, I rush to get inside and out of the wind. Last weekend, we were eating corn salad, but I’m looking at recipes for corn soup.

Without the sunshine filtering into the room in the morning or the sound of my relatives downstairs, it’s been harder to wake up. Our little Oakland house seems incredibly small after being in the huge cabin, and summer seems a long way away.

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