Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winter is icumen in

We're late to the pity party in California, but winter weather has finally, fiercely, arrived.

To celebrate — or bemoan — I yank out this illustration, for a story about the competition for limited recreation space in Northern California's national forests.

(When clients' generosity of spirit will allow, I like to try one-shot illustrations, just to get the look and feel down in one go, without luxury of planning. This came in that manner, just a slow meander with a Paper Mate®™ pen, putting elements where my tiny brain thought they should go.)

Winter is an option in California. We don't have to be in snow if we don't want — not like in the Midwest or northeast, where people settled before considering that a California might exist.

We get our rains, as we do now, and trudge through an occasional flood. But snow and truly hard winter are choices.

Swim buddy Doug laughed when I asked if he would see the famous fall colors during the Thanksgiving visit to his native New England.

"That was way back in September," he said.

What do I know? Here the flame-colored leaves seemed to hang on the trees a month longer than usual, too late for people to rake them away, so the heavy warm rains knocked leaves into the streets to clog the gutters and worsen the flooding.

These things I notice more being outdoors more often and swimming the cold water. The water is "warm" for this time of year, about 5 degrees higher than normal (a huge sensory difference). Part of it is artifice, since Lake Natoma is used by water and wildlife officials to regulate temperature and amount for many, many needs. But only nature can really affect such a massive volume of water, and for whatever reason, nature is keeping things warm.

Should we worry? Surely.

(Somehow I missed the occasion of my 200th post, a couple of weeks back. Thanks for bearing with me.)

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