May Gray

i am not sure folks not from the Southwest corner can grasp the severity of “May Gray,” made even worse by extending into “June Gloom.” Perhaps Aussies around Perth have the same period of similar weather. Let’s see, that would be “November Gray” and “December Gloom” (Just doesn’t have quite the same impact without the alliteration, does it?).

Regardless, it ain’t fun. In fact, it’s my least favorite time of the year out here. To make matters worse, it came about a week too early this year.

Sometime in April until the middle of May is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s spring. The cool of winter gives way to sunshine, not too hot, not too cool, but just right. The colors change and alternate throughout the period: Japanese pear trees, then the coral trees, then the jackaranda. Bougainvillea takes off, gardens stretch their wings, and spring green abounds before turning to desert summer brown. Joyous comes to mind as the way it affects me.

It’s gone. Left too soon. Thursday, i played golf with Maureen at the Coronado Golf Club, a terrific public course and still affordable. We teed off just afternoon. Gray. May Gray. Ugh. Worse, it was cool enough i wore my wind shirt the entire round.

Approaching the second green, my eye caught some aerodynamics in full action. An osprey had caught a large fish and apparently was carrying it back to his nest for the ospreyettes (my word). A seagull was not pleased with the osprey out performing him in the bay fishing competition. The gull was pissed and swooping to and fro at the osprey before veering high or low or left or right, climbing up to swoop once again at the course diverting, annoyed osprey. The two continued on with their air show until they were out of sight.

It was beautiful. It was nature framed by what used to be my work home, Naval Amphibious Base, Glorietta Bay (over which the show was on display), and the gray, gray sky. The only good thing about May Gray that afternoon.

As usual, my golfing friends and i teed off early at Sea ‘n Air on Friday. In case, you don’t remember, the Naval Air Station, North Island course borders on the south facing beaches of the Pacific.

It was not hot. It was not cool. My friends back home in Lebanon, Tennessee would scoff (in fact, nearly all of my friends not in the Southwest corner would scoff) when i describe it as cold. Don’t care. It was cold.

Sure it was in the high fifties and low sixties throughout the three-hour, twenty-minute round (we play fast when there’s no one in front of us). But the Japanese current was whacking us in the face. It may not have been cold by most standards, but we were cold. i wore a heavier wind shirt than i had the day before, but i was wishing i had worn a parka.

You see, about this time of year, the deserts east of here start heating up. The Japanese current runs counter-clockwise from the Western Pacific up to the Arctic Circle and swooshes down upon us, carrying all of that north pole cold with it. When the two, the desert heat and the current cold collide, the marine layer hangs over the coast (aka us) and the wind blows the fog, the haze, the cloud cover, and the cold into our bones.

And this lasts for about six to seven weeks.

It should be spring turning into summer. i’m ready for Tennessee spring. i’m ready to feel the sun against my skin. i remember how i could not wait for mid-May sometime when i was back home because it was like the signal to go swimming at Hazelwood or Horn Springs. i remember it was when the bat didn’t sting your hands because of the cold. The baseball uniforms were sweaty by the second inning. You could wear tee shirts out at night to catch the fireflies, “lightning bugs” to some of us. It was warm.

Not here. i have learned not to go swimming in the ocean until two days in August when the water temperature is around seventy degrees. Summer won’t hit us until July, or at least something like Tennessee summer except the humidity here hovers around forty to fifty percent.

Of course, it ain’t bad for playing golf, pretty much like the rest of the year. So i guess i will just have to endure May Gray and June Gloom. And the middle of the day is usually pretty nice.

1 thought on “May Gray

Leave a Reply to Howard Humphreys Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.