What is a California Autumn in Orange County?

It’s very subtle for a midwesterner like me, used to the first freeze which turns everything brilliant. Here it’s more about the umbers, burnt siennas, and the green/golds. It’s also the aroma, the air, it’s a feeling more than visual. It kinda starts in August. The way the air feels, the light, the smells. I’d always get the itch to travel, because that was typically our families time to take an RV trip.  It’s like when you can smell the coming rain. You can’t see it, but you know.

Today, we experienced two really good rains and oh my gosh, a thunderstorm! Southern California doesn’t get the beautiful flash and the rumble of a good midwestern thunderstorm! But we had a rare occurrence last week. As my husband and I sat at the dining room table eating dinner, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a flash. I wasn’t sure; maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. A little bit later there was a rumble, really distant, one of those that made you wonder if it was a train or a big heavy vehicle going by on the street. Then I saw another flash! And I knew! I knew it was lightning! That’s when I head outside and wait for it! It was exhilarating! The power and the beauty of it, seeing that subtle flash off in the distance and doing the count. You know about the count? When you see the flash you count; one one thousand two one thousand three one thousand…if you get to five one thousand before you hear it – that is one mile away.  You can tell if it’s getting closer or moving off. And then there’s the flash that’s like a camera flash and BOOM! No time to count – oh that was too close!

So today, after so much rain, I have to stay off the trails, because they are fragile. Too many footprints in the mud don’t go away in our heavily trafficked trails after it dries. You do something else like walk through the neighborhood with a pack on, and just condition. Even though I’m not on a trail, I’m stretching my legs, observing, reveling in the post rain and thunderstorm aromas of Southern California Autumn.