I used to measure the years of my life with the changing of the seasons.
The first snowfall meant soon I’d be lounging on rugs in front of a fireplace with my sister, drinking mom’s tea and playing chess with dad. In a few months, Kristina and I would find the wild green onions sprouting in our backyard woods and collect them for our moms to make rice for Norooz, which marked the first day of spring. Then the evening thunderstorms would rumble while we slept and I knew summer freedom was near. Until one morning, when the glow of the fireflies and song of the cricket had started to fade, I’d step outside to feel the air nip and carry a scent of decomposing leaves.
I didn’t realize how connected I was to this experience of seasons until I moved to Northern California in 2008. One day, I realized I had been living here for 3 years and never felt time pass. The days were endlessly mild and, despite an occasional drizzle or fog, averaged to a sunny 68°.
So yesterday, when a massive storm passed through the Bay Area, I was ecstatic. Koba and I were alone at the cabin on the vineyard—no one for miles and miles. The storm hit and the power went out. Moments later, my best adventure friends drove up, on their way home from a Saturday excursion. We gathered inside and waited for the wind and rain to pass.
The whole experience was magic.
Driving slowly on the highway knowing one slip on the journey could mean I never make it to the destination. Slamming my Jeep into the biggest dirt road puddles I could find. Running for cover in the wet bellowing wind. Looking for candles and matches as the last traces of daylight crept away. Holding my breath as the floor and walls and roof I called shelter shook anxiously around me. Laying in the rug telling stories in the dark. Cuddling with two terrified Rhodesian pups who couldn’t wait for the rain to stop. Not knowing or caring when the lights would come back and adult life would resume.
It’s all a reminder for me. A reminder of the forces that are big and powerful. A reminder to stand in awe.