The California Dream

Before the Bay Area dipped into its (relative) cold snap a few weeks back, there were a few days that were so impossibly clear and warm--especially in the South Bay, where I've spent more than my fair share of time--that they made me wonder how I could ever even consider leaving.

Indeed, there's much to be said for our balmy mid-winter weather, which has always been one of my favorite things about living in Northern California. When it's possible to leave the house without a jacket, and perhaps to find yourself too warm regardless, it's easy to believe that you're living the sweet California dream, to fantasize about sun-soaked fields and genteel living and a sense of bright hope and all those other images that once made up the state's iconography.

The slightly less glittery reality, though, is that things are no longer quite as golden. You can still find the fields, but they're fewer and farther between, and broad swaths of the state seem to be losing them altogether. The genteel living is increasingly hard to come by as prices still (miraculously) climb, with no sign of drifting down. The hope sometimes seems to go as easily as it comes.

But maybe that's just the rain.

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