I always expect winter to appear suddenly in November. This is mostly because in New Mexico, year after year, immediately after my sister’s birthday a wave of frost blankets the state. It always seems like a surprise. We know it has to happen but until it does we milk every temperate day we can. You can smell the green chiles roasting outside grocery stores, restaurants and improvised parking lot markets, the cast iron roaster rolling like a fiery bingo drum. People stand outside, still in t-shirts and shorts, sucking down that searing sweet smell through their lungs. The days are perfect and the skies are clear (as always). Then, just when we think these temperate days will last forever, nature releases the easy embrace of fall, and we all rush to the freezer to make hot stew with our newly frozen chiles.
However, here in Northern California the temperatures are less conventional (thanks to our San-Francisco-values?). After the unrelenting and bitter chill of a San Francisco summer, October comes along and makes us regret we cursed the cold. You see, the Bay Area doesn’t actually have “summer” until September – we just get an Indian Summer. So, here’s the scenario: June through August we all bitch about the chill, the fog and how we “feel like we missed summer;” then October arrives bringing triple digits and nature’s sassy revenge.
So for the last three weeks we’ve been eating crow and enduring that spiteful revenge in our air-conditioning-less houses. But it seems nature believes we’ve learned our lesson again, and today we were rewarded. The first rain of the season blessed us with bright grey skies, drizzle throughout the day and a welcome respite from the heat. It’s lovely, cozy, and demands a cup of hot tea with cookies… maybe even some green chile stew.