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Weather Changes

Over the years I have lived many places in the United States. I grew up in Western New York... Niagara Falls, to be exact. Nasty snowstorms and thick summer humidity was the norm.

Photo by Jon Ball - Boise, Idaho
Walking to school in the snow was a delight as well as a struggle. When it was delightful, I would be late for school because I had been catching snowflakes on my mittens to examine before they melted. I would lie down in some strangers front yard to make snow angels. I would get caught in playing with other kids throwing snowballs at each other.

When the snow was not fun I would be late for school, too. Trudging through sidewalks that have not been shoveled, not daring to step into the street because a car just might hit you was a deterrent. If the wind was blowing the snow in my face, I kept my head down watching each step of my boots gloved hands in my pockets. Apparently the other kids got rides to school on those days.

At least by high school I could take the bus.

Then as a young military wife, I lived in Los Angeles, lots mini earthquakes, but nothing I worried about. Then Delaware; what a swampland! At least that was the impression I got of the place. Then, back to New York state. I live at the shores of Chautauqua Lake. Beautiful country, but lots of sub-zero winter weather. Since I lived in the country, there were no sidewalks to shovel, only the driveway. If the snow plows didn't come down my dead end road, I could drive nowhere. Snuggling down in the house, I watched the beauty of the lake through the windows.

Then, I moved back to Southern California, so hot all summer, spring, fall, winter, (you name it) and the smog. EW!

Leaving that behind I ended up in Santa Cruz, California on the Monterey Bay. I loved it there for many years but husband lost his job and we decided to be adventurous, to go where no one had gone before.. at least not us. We traveled the Southwest first, then headed to Indiana for a new job. It turned out to be a decade of what I call "My Hoosier Hell Years". Honestly, I saw more damage due to tornadoes than I ever saw from California earthquakes. (Note: I became an amateur storm chaser!) Was pretty sick there all the time with asthma because of allergies and mold. The summer humidity was harder to take than any I'd faced before. I had never had so much trouble breathing even in the Southern California smog.

Central California winter hillside in drought,
Compare to photo below
Finally, I came back to Northern California. In all my total years here, until these last few, I've never seen such drought and subsequent wild fires! The drought makes the hillsides ugly. By this time of year, after our winter rains everything is usually green and luscious. But, sadly, not this year. It's all dry tinder!

We just had a big fire recently in the wilderness of Big Sur. Thirty four homes were burned to the ground. Last summer, among other fires throughout the state, 402 square miles was burnt near Yosemite National Forest. It took a full month before the fire was contained. I don't know how many homes or livestock or people were lost. It's worrisome. A fire on the outskirts of my own town a few years back was quite threatening, too.

Just the same, I figure that no matter where someone lives there is weather phenomena that are going to be problems. Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Desert heat, Snowstorms, sub-zero temps, flooding, etc etc. But, this is home now. Earthquakes, drought, fires, mudslides. This is where I want to live out the rest of my years.

Misty view from outskirts of Watsonville, California after a bit of rain.
Strawberry field on left. Orchard on right. Mount Madonna straight ahead. 

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