Amblin' Alameda: Fog's back

Amblin' Alameda: Fog's back

Morton Chalfy

Summer has definitely arrived. The marine layer lives off shore once again, and the climate has provided several days of perfection in the minds of some of us.

With the fog at hand nights are cool and eminently sleepable, mornings are pleasant with a hint of cool and then the day mellows further in "the warm California sun." This weather pattern brings a feeling of "life is good" with it and encourages stopping to smell the roses and admire the sunsets and just sit on the porch and soak in the beauty of it all.

Friday evening we sat in our parked car alongside Crab Cove and enjoyed the music, the gathering of Alamedans and the soft breeze off the bay. With San Francisco as a backdrop and the pulsing Latin beat as the soundtrack, it made for a pleasant and inimitable experience. And that was without a stop at Foster's for a freeze, though we'll have to get there this week before it's gone for good. (Speaking of gone for good, we visited Urban Island to say a fond farewell and a sincere "we'll miss you guys." Some businesses have a short run before they leave, but still leave strong memories behind.)

The migrating birds are gone for now but bird life remains, and on our walk along the shore at the sanctuary we came upon a Great Blue Heron, a Snowy Egret and the remaining stragglers of the shorebird visit. The bay covered the mud flats, mostly, the morning air was sweet and the other walkers seemed to be in moods that reflected the mild weather.

My writing gets done in the mornings, usually, and my thinking - such as it is - gets done in the afternoons. I'm referring to thinking about writing. I try to work through any plot problems before I sit down to write, and my favorite thinking place is our backyard, especially now. By afternoon it's bathed in sunlight and from the shaded porch I can sit and contemplate the swaying trees, the flowering plants, the ripening fruits and the wildlife.

That's wildlife in miniature, two tiny butterflies, a dragonfly, the resident hummingbird and a couple of buzzing insects I keep a wary eye on. These summer afternoons I can sit there and sink into a reverie and somehow, subconsciously, work out what I want to write next.

These days Leon, the male half of our two-cat household, will quietly slip out onto the porch with me to do his own contemplating. He watches the hummingbird with interest, though not the interest of a hunter. The hummer is too swift, perhaps too small, but certainly an unobtainable object for a (let's face it) cat with a weight problem.

So he patrols the deck, sniffs the air and settles down onto a warm patch with a good view of whatever is going on. He dozes off. So do I. The joys of summer in Alameda.