August in Atlanta

It’s August in Atlanta. Actually it’s August everywhere, but in Atlanta, August is particularly apparent. For 50 years I sweated through the longest month of the year, pining for the sweet relief of September. In Atlanta, by the end of August, folks have begun to lose their minds a bit, brains baked by unbearable heat, skin sticky with constant sweat, struggling to breathe the warm damp air even on short ventures outside. The oven blast of an open door. It wears on you, produces heat rashes in embarrassing places, turns mildly curly hair into halos from hell. August in Atlanta is awful, even worse than July.

By 8 am, the air is uncomfortable, by noon it is dangerous, by 5 pm, the atmosphere can no longer bear the torturous temperature and the skies break open with vicious lightning, roof rattling booms, and waves of sideways rain–all of which ends as suddenly as it began, just in time for a flawless, slightly cooler sunset. The cicadas rejoice in chorus as blessed darkness comes.

It is August in San Francisco where I live now. For the first time in my life, I am spared the agonies of August, for this August is like early spring in Atlanta. Here I must wear a jacket and socks and shoes on 8/15, as if winter was nigh. The air is damp but it is the cool dampness of the Pacific ocean, mist that evaporates in the sun. There is no peril in this August; out the door is a mild welcoming place. What a joy to be kissed by the San Franciscan fog every morning, a gentle awakening to a chilly day.

I have always dreaded the dog days of August. After 50 years, the month has been returned to me in full.

San Francisco Fog

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