On a Clear Day

sunrise clear day

After traveling, our Humboldt skies seem like clear windows to the heavens. When I was child, my mother drove my brother and me down to the city and picked up a girl who had never been out of the Bay Area. She fell asleep almost immediately. When she awoke, we were almost at the Humboldt border.

“The sky—it’s BLUE,” she breathed

My brother and I frog eyed each other (what a geek she is) and began snorting with suppressed laughter (gee, next she’ll be announcing that ice cream tastes good). My mother (bless her—always willing to judge people kindly) said, “Well, it is pretty today,” in a cautious way as if probing for solid footing.

“No, I mean, it’s really blue,” the girl turned serious and not dazed eyes onto us. “Where I come from it is a pale washed out whitish color. Always.”

We all looked out of the windows and gazed through her eyes. Overhead, the heaven stretched tightly like royal blue silk over the June hillsides. One white cloud accented the sky like a beauty mark–floating slowly, grandly. The hills like dragons with pointy tree scales lazed in long curves under the azure canopy and we could see the air- not swept clean but new clean like a just budded flower.

From that day on I became aware of the sky—of the many beautiful skies of Humboldt. Now 35 years later though, the skies of a Humboldt summer are less blue and from the mountain above my house I can see a haze over the towns of the southern part of the county.

But sometimes, after a rain, the sky is BLUE again.

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15 comments

  • It hailed down here about an hour ago, but the sun is peeking through. What a great story. And so true.
    I happen to think it smells different too.

  • It hailed down here about an hour ago, but the sun is peeking through. What a great story. And so true.
    I happen to think it smells different too.

  • Right now we’re kind of hoping for a little snow just to feel Christmasy. The Clouds are dark smudgy gray and heavy but the sun keeps coming through.

    Right now it smells fresh but sometimes the air has a touch of yellow to it too!

  • Right now we’re kind of hoping for a little snow just to feel Christmasy. The Clouds are dark smudgy gray and heavy but the sun keeps coming through.

    Right now it smells fresh but sometimes the air has a touch of yellow to it too!

  • We can certainly take our relatively clean air for granted if we rarely leave the county. I sure noticed how smoggy L.A. was when I have been there.

  • The last time I was in LA I washed my face twice a day because of the gray yuck that stuck there!

  • The last time I was in LA I washed my face twice a day because of the gray yuck that stuck there!

  • I look down my Northern California (I know, I know…the term is relative) nose at the yuck of LA as my car’s exhaust is conveniently swept over the hills to rest in the Central Valley.

    ::Inhales Smugly::

    Ahhhhh….that clean Bay Area air! Well…I’m off to Orange County for Christmas…into the heart of smoggy darkness and behind the yellow-orange curtain.

  • I look down my Northern California (I know, I know…the term is relative) nose at the yuck of LA as my car’s exhaust is conveniently swept over the hills to rest in the Central Valley.

    ::Inhales Smugly::

    Ahhhhh….that clean Bay Area air! Well…I’m off to Orange County for Christmas…into the heart of smoggy darkness and behind the yellow-orange curtain.

  • Hold your breath. This is the last good air you’ll get till you cross back into the Bay Area.

  • Hold your breath. This is the last good air you’ll get till you cross back into the Bay Area.

  • Jim told me about your blog a while ago and I’ve been an avid reader ever since. Your blog is fabulous! Living in Berkeley for 4 years know, I can relate to what the girl from the Bay Area was thinking we saw how beautiful it is up here. The air in the Bay is not the same. I ride my mountain bike early in the morning on weekdays and the view from above the hills is often very dismal- blue skies with thick grey settling over the city and concealing the golden gate bridge. The first thing I do when I get back to Humboldt is stare at the sky and drink a cup of water. Nothing refreshes the soul like a cup of cold Salmon Creek water. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us Kim. Keep writing!

  • Jim told me about your blog a while ago and I’ve been an avid reader ever since. Your blog is fabulous! Living in Berkeley for 4 years know, I can relate to what the girl from the Bay Area was thinking we saw how beautiful it is up here. The air in the Bay is not the same. I ride my mountain bike early in the morning on weekdays and the view from above the hills is often very dismal- blue skies with thick grey settling over the city and concealing the golden gate bridge. The first thing I do when I get back to Humboldt is stare at the sky and drink a cup of water. Nothing refreshes the soul like a cup of cold Salmon Creek water. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us Kim. Keep writing!

  • Emma, so good to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words. And you are right about the water. Nothing else even comes close.

  • Emma, so good to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words. And you are right about the water. Nothing else even comes close.

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