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  • I used to measure summer by degrees farenheit and percentage humidity. But when I moved to the Bay Area, I learned to measure summer in minutes.

    As a kid on the East Coast, summer days required short shorts and cornrowed hair. It was thighs sticking to car seats. Open fire hydrants and the icy man. Feet sweating in jellies and when I got older, time spent on pedicures for open toed wedges. If we were lucky, we’d get to the beach or Six Flags Great Adventure, cooling off in Atlantic waves or rollercoaster breezes. And nights standing in front of the fan or the open refrigerator before a humid sleep on top of covers. Summer was moist and lush, verdant until it became decadent. And when, like mashed up peaches, summer became overripe, we looked forward to the cool of Fall.

    But here, I had to abandon everything I knew to be true about summer. I gauge it now by the hands on the clock. The fog gives way to sunlight around 11am and then rolls back in around 6. Sometimes the fog never gives way and a shrouded sun sets behind the Golden Gate at 8:32. 8:34. 8:35. After the equinox, 8:33. 8:29 til school starts then suddenly it’s dark at 7:42. Days are longer for sure but they are wrapped in fleece. I know summer by the alarm I don’t have to set, by how late I send the kids to bed. Summer arrives with strawberries, rolls into apricots, gives us cherries and stone fruits of every hue, melons of every size, corn, tomatoes and when the tomatoes have turned our stomachs to acid, we’re ready for autumn apples. Summer no longer felt on my brown and browning and browner skin, but understood now in seconds between breaths.
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