Does the Wet Suit You

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June Gloom

By JJ Gasparotti

The coldest winter Mark Twain ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. You could just as easily say that about the weather in Laguna during June. It defies physics when the temperature feels like freezing but the thermometer reads 64 degrees. In most places that would be a warm spring day. But not here, when the sky never brightens from a dismal gray.

This low-lying cloud does have its silver linings. The brightest one being for the working stiff or sports buff. You couldn’t ask for more salubrious weather conditions for any sort of sweat-inducing activity. A ditch digger in Laguna could experience temperatures 30 degrees cooler than someone doing the same task in El Toro. As a bonus, the gloom burns off just in time for the beach after work.

Then there’s the preposterous notion that homes in Laguna require air-conditioned cooling. Maybe for a few days a year they do, but that’s usually because of smoke in the air, not the temperature. Our big natural air conditioner, the Pacific Ocean, does the job just fine. Sometimes it does it a little too well, like during June.

Laguna homes are becoming air conditioner homes. It’s a growing trend. There they sit with the windows closed and compressors constantly grinding away in an expensive exercise to recreate the climate nature has produced for free.

The folks inside can’t hear all the mechanical racket and are oblivious to what is going on in the real world. It is like there are two tribes forming—the air-conditioned people and the open window people. They’ll have vastly different notions about the environment.

Water is the greatest gift June Gloom gives us. Farmers used to grow lima bean crops with only the dew sticking to furry leaves evolved for that task. This was one of the few cash crops possible before irrigation with imported water began.

During the old days, most of the cottages in Laguna captured the dew and drizzle that ran off the roof into their water cistern. This helped sweeten the brackish well water folks had to buy after the rainy season ended. During June Gloom, rain harvesters could collect several gallons of water a day.

The lima bean farmers have moved on to growing shopping centers and housing tracts. The only rain harvesting being done is the province of a hobby. But that wet marine layer still serves us well. Nothing dampens the fire danger like a thick cloud full of moisture.

June Gloom is our friend, our depressing friend.

J.J. Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 years old. He has loved it ever since.

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