So far, 2017 has been rainy and chilly in Silicon Valley. We finally turned on the heat in our townhouse on New Year's Eve--every new season I like to see how long I can go before I turn on the heat or AC, and because the weather here is so mild, we never actually turned on the little window unit that's in the corner of our dining room (central air is not really a thing here). In Minnesota, winter starts in September. In North Carolina, summer lasts until October. And here, in the Bay Area, the seasons seem separated only by ten or fifteen degrees, depending on the time of day.
Our heat is an old gas furnace that's on either side of a wall--one half is next to the bookcase and faces our living room, and the other half radiates heat into the dining room and kitchen. I kind of hated it at first, because it seemed clunky and I guess I'm kind of afraid of gas appliances, but now I love it--the way it smells, the sound it makes when it kicks on, how sitting on the couch next to it feels like being beside a fire. The heat wafts its way slowly upstairs, so in the morning I wake up and feel it right away as I turn the corner down the stairs to start the coffee.
The air here doesn't smell much like winter, maybe because we won't get snow, or maybe because the seasons don't really change the way they do back east. The mornings are cold, and so are the evenings, and the afternoons are bright and a bit warmer. Sure, the leaves fall off the trees at the end of autumn and things bloom in the spring, but there's a kind of neutrality to the seasons here that, much like my heater, I thought I'd hate but has turned out to be rather soothing.
Charlotte is currently hunkering down as they wait for the first snow of the year (something that doesn't always come around down south), and I know that as soon as my Instagram feed fills with flurries I'll feel pangs of jealousy, but for now I'm happy to spend my rainy winter days cuddled up with a cup of coffee and a long-sleeved tee shirt.
Lately (this week) Ender and I have gone out on rainy afternoon walks, which I love because no one else is out. Usually I would take him to the dog park to play with his pup friends, but everyone on this side of the country seems to stay home when it rains, so we have started to as well. I put on my hooded jacket and rain boots and we head to a different park close to our house to walk the loop until we're damp and rosy-cheeked. And then we head back to the house to wipe our feet at the door and carry on with our day, wondering if maybe the sun might come out tomorrow--because this is, after all, California.