Archive for September, 2004

September Rain

I’m no poet but I also noticed that strange morning burst of rain slapping against the windows.
Late summer. Hot Sahara winds blow into the Atlantic and churn into hurricane after hurricane to pound Florida. Meanwhile the Pacific blows us a little wet kiss; then returns to its gentle foggy embrace.
I think I picked the right coast.

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rain dusting

to cat meows loud
in spite of earplugs and
another sound unfamiliar
in months of heat and fog
I puzzle over it
the electric fan
I might have left on overnight
on the rope hammock and deck chairs
dusty spider webs sunk by flashfloods
and all the leaves wiped clean
by sudden

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The Foggy Desert

Summer in San Francisco still strikes me as strange, and I’ve been living here for nearly 20 years. As a committed gardener, I’ve been paying closer and closer attention to the weather’s cycles, rushing home from hot bright Sunnyvale every day to ask my wife “did the fog ever break here?”
During July and August, the answer was almost always “No.”
So all summer long San Francisco (at least my neighborhood) is wreathed in fog and cloud. The oddest part is that the fog brings no water. The ground gets as dry as a bone. If the plants aren’t watered, they shrivel up and die. Welcome to the foggy desert.
The weeks pass, and I water and water. Early on, maybe May, I tried a little spraying to help my roses survive, but I just can’t do this regularly enough.
Now it’s Labor Day, the sun has finally come out, and my roses are all destroyed. Most have dumped all their leaves from a variety of funguses. If I clean them up now and feed them, I’ll get one last burst of flowers before the rains begin in late Autumn.
Still, my garden is magnificent. Dahlias are the saviors of late summer. They adore the foggy desert, as long as they get their regular food and water. So my garden is exploding with huge gorgeous dahlias: pale yellows, salmons and oranges in one area, and purples, lavendars and white in another.
Roses in spring, dahlias in summer: not a bad combination.

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