Before I moved to the ranch, I lived for 31 years in California, 21 of those in San Diego and 10 in San Jose. Both cities are temperate ones, close enough to the Pacific to have their temperatures moderated considerably by the ocean. It’s probably an exaggeration caused by faulty memory, but it seems like the annual variation in temperature in San Diego is from the 50s in winter to the 80s in summer (with rare exceptions, of course). In the high desert, we can have greater variation than that in the space of a couple of hours. The low point since we came was 7 degrees, the high somewhere around 107 or 108. In San Diego one hardly pays attention to the temperature because it’s always about the same. Here I own two weather stations telling me what’s going on outside.
Typically, when we get up at 5:00 in winter, the temperature drops another two or three degrees before the sun comes up and the air starts to warm. That was the pattern yesterday: 29 at 5:00, 27 by about 6:30. Today, though, it was 25 at 5:00, then 27 around 6:00, and back down to 26 at 7:00. I don’t know what caused the little warm-up. I guess it’s just a reminder that nature is unpredictable, that the world doesn’t always run like clockwork, or if it does then sometimes the clock decides to run backward.
In the past ten days or so I’ve had some life fluctuations, moments that reminded me that life, like nature, doesn’t run smoothly in a single direction. There are backward times, and stalls, and sudden ups and downs. Life and nature are alike in that way, which makes sense, I suppose, since even though we are surrounded by computers and cell phones and Blu-Ray players and the like, those are not life, they are only accessories to life, adjuncts, and not the thing itself, which is just about the most natural process any of us can ever experience. We have to take the lows with the highs, and accept that sometimes the clock hands (remember when clocks invariably had hands?) spin the wrong way. Almost invariably they’ll turn again, but we need reminding of that, too.