The June Gloom
by Garrison Frost
I spent the day in a small house near the water in Manhattan Beach putting the finishing touches on some music my friends and I first started recording a several years ago. The windows were all open and at one point, late in the day, I realized that I had been freezing to death for hours.
June Gloom had arrived. Right on time.
For some reason, I had brought my sunglasses to the shore, but I had stowed them in a pocket at Anza Avenue and had no further use for them. I looked out the window of my friend’s house. It was all gray outside. The ocean, Victory at Sea.
Certainly there were many people who haven’t lived here for long who sweltered through those hot days in April and May, who thought that summer had arrived early. No doubt these people committed themselves to wearing lighter clothing, shorts and T-shirts as much as possible. Well, those folks were iced to the bone as they are every year. For every year, the new and foolish fall for the tricks of April and May and declare the summer early. And every year, the June Gloom strikes them down.
There is some science behind what we call June Gloom, something to do with how the coast this meeting of water and land is also the meeting place of large masses of dry cool air and moist warm air. But clearly science isn’t behind the name, for if people in the beach cities really gave it much thought, they would quickly realize that there is nothing gloomy about these gray days of June at all.
For it is during June that the beach is truly for the locals. June Gloom, as it is called, is what keeps the unserious from paddling their shiny new Beckers into the line-up at El Porto and the Breakwall. It’s what keeps the sunbathers off the volleyball courts and local hangouts. It is what keeps the bike path moderately usable. If you’ve lived in the beach cities for any length of time, you are no longer drawn to the sun for its own sake. You don’t sunbathe; in fact, you regret all your tans. You just want to enjoy your sense of place in peace.
When the sun comes out in late July and August, all this will be over. And in a way, you’ll miss the June Gloom.
(June 5, 2007)
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