By Kathi Macias –
Okay, if you recognized the term “June gloom,” you must be from California, right? Seriously, June gloom is a major weather phenomenon here on the West Coast, and I for one love it! Why? Because I live in the desert, and June gloom is our last buffer against a summer hot enough to fry your brain five minutes after the sun comes up in the morning. To say it gets hot out here in the California desert is like saying it gets cold in the Antarctic—an understatement if ever there was one.
So what exactly is June gloom? It’s the glorious gray, damp, chilly fog that rolls in off the Pacific nearly every morning from Memorial Day until almost the Fourth of July, holding temperatures down until the sun burns through it and starts heating things up by noon or so. But at least that gives us the morning hours to get outside, take walks, prune the roses, etc. Once that desert sunshine makes its entrance, forget it! We desert rats lock ourselves inside, turn up the AC, and don’t come out again until dark.
It wasn’t always like that, though. There was a time, eons ago, when I despised June gloom, but that was because I lived right on the coast—not anywhere near the desert. June gloom there lasted nearly six months out of the year, and that frigid blanket of damp gray seldom burned off, instead leaving everything cold and miserable—including everyone who lived there.
But we were kids then. When school let out the middle of June, nothing was going to keep us from heading for the beach and catapulting our skinny bodies into the icy cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. I was nearly twenty years old before I found out that blue was not my natural skin color and teeth weren’t supposed to chatter.
Then I got old. Seriously! I refuse to tell you how many times I’ve passed another twenty years and how distant a memory those “skinny bodies” we once took for granted have now become. And somehow, some way, my husband (who grew up in the same gray beach town) and I ended up living in the desert. Now we celebrate June gloom and weep when it disappears because we know what’s coming—115-degree days for about four months or so.
And yet, when that broiling summer sun finally sets in the evening, we’ve discovered that there is nothing to compare to the beauty of desert nights. Along with our neighbors, we crawl out of the woodwork at sundown and revel in the clear night skies, the clean air, and the un-crowded streets and towns we now call home. We’ve learned that home really is “where the heart is,” June gloom notwithstanding, which makes it all the more important that our hearts are focused on God and eternity. For that’s where our Home really is, isn’t it? And what a magnificent Home it will be! No need for June gloom to hold down the temps there, for we will at last be in the ideal place we’ve been yearning for all along.
I’m going to hold that thought as I work my way through this year’s June gloom season—and on into the stifling hot months to follow. After all, in the words of the late Rev. E.V. Hill, “This ain’t it!” And aren’t we glad?