We lost a friend yesterday morning, my brother-in-law’s neighbor in the Sierra. He’d struggled with health problems the last few years, then developed pneumonia, was put on a respirator for about a week, and had the respirator pulled in the night and the morphine drip begun. I guess about 7AM the morphine worked its wonder on him. I didn’t know him well, but knew him for a long time. He retired from Lockheed, where he’d been involved with managing construction costs of the Hubble telescope. A native of Georgia who managed to retain that fascinating southern drawl throughout his many years of living in California, in his latter days he moved on top of a remote mountain ridge where he liked to hunt and fish and keep his dogs. Such news is always quite sobering to me, causing me to stop my normal thoughts, say a prayer, and wonder silently to myself how many days ahead are mine.

The coastal wind continues to howl. I went to the ocean to walk along the tide line for an hour in noon-high sun, and watched a group of sunbathers have their shade umbrella ripped out of the sand and tossed end over end, until they were able to run it down and stop it from continuing to tumble. Funny what people do in wind, thinking they can continue to hold an umbrella high in the air as they work to crank down the stretchers, while it twists inside out and continues flopping and beating, as if some sort of winged creature that has been cornered, aggravated, and is fighting for its escape.

Maybe less wind tomorrow, but the way this season has rolled out with such odd and unpredictable behavior, we might just see wind until the Fourth of July. The local forecaster, a gray-haired old guy with a charming smile, who seems so fascinated with weather conditions, notes that when these spring winds stop blowing is when we first start seeing the seasonally deep marine layers, fog, entrenched on the outer waters of the bay. The warmer sun heating the surface of the ocean causes a difference in pressure between land and sea. The offshore winds push warmer water out to sea and the colder water underneath upwells to the surface and mistifies in the sunlight to become fog.

This far into April and the persistent fog has not arrived. These mornings have been filled with shiny bright sun, enticing me to get up and get moving earlier than I might otherwise do when it is gray. For such a dry warm winter as we have had, the forest and close-by fields look so green and healthy. Maybe the colors appear more intense and pure because they have not been muted by the customary overhead gray.

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