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Fall Has . . . Fallen

A perfectly symmetrical, swooping trail of smoke hung over Angel Island and Tiburon on Sunday, and, driving across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, it took us a moment to figure out what was going on. There were other scribbles all over the sky, as if Picasso had been doodling above the Bay. And then there they were, like clockwork, as sure as the winter constellations returning every season: the Blue Angels.

"Revvin’ up your engine; Listen to her howlin’ roar. Metal under tension; Beggin’ you to touch and go. Highway to the danger zone; Ride into the danger zone."

© 2018 Jeff Berman

They flew alongside the bridge for moments, and we checked the radio to see if Rock You Like a Hurricane, or some other all-A’murican anthem was playing (it was not). We suppose there are a number of political observations that can be made about the annual presence of Fleet Week in the Bay Area and the military industrial complex, but we can probably all agree on this objective fact: The Blue Angels’ pilots have, without a doubt, the best job in the world.

Look close and you’ll notice something different about this photo. It’s from last year. Like the swallows to Capistrano, the Blue Angels return every fall to the Bay Area to bring out even the most jaded adult’s inner Top Gun fan. (The photographer and subject wished to remain anonymous when they sent us this photo in 2017.)

© 2018 Anonymous

Arriving at Berkeley mania, we were surprised to see whitecaps on the Bay. It was late in the season, and we brought our windsurfing gear with only the faintest hope of actually getting some. Droves of cars were making their exodus from Frontage Road as if the seas were splitting. The wind was good — a little on the light side, for sure, but steady, warm and dry.

Another shot of the mystery crew from last year’s Fleet Week.

© Anonymous

Scoring a fall day of windsurfing, when the Pumpkin Spiced Latte vibes are coursing through the air, is always a special treat. Another windsurfer, looking at his phone, arrived as the last Blue Angel spectators trickled out. "Well, it’s forecast to be windy. Unless it’s not," he said. But after rigging, getting into the wetsuit, and scampering down the rocks, the meager breeze puttered out almost instantly, a condition we’ve come to call the Berkeley tease this season.

"Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby." "Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full." Great balls of fire.

© Jeff Berman

It’s been a while since we’ve done this: tried to windsurf in the waning days of the summer. We used to accept the end of the season with the cold inevitability of fall itself. Leaves changed color, withered and died, and crunched underfoot, just as the windy season petered out every year, no matter how badly you wanted just one more day. And once we accept it, it’s not a bad thing. After our boats have sat somewhat idle because we were chasing windsurfing days, we were excited (if not ecstatic) to do some Indian summer sailing. 

We shot this just around the corner from our offices this morning.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As we walked to the office this morning — a warm north wind stirring through trees starting to go bare — we felt a sense of acceptance. It’s not as if the fall was waiting for our approval to finally happen, but it felt good to be ready for it, and to look forward to wearing scarves, feeling the bite of the cold on our face, and starting to obsess over snow instead of wind forecasts.

Are you ready for the change? Sad to see summer go? Oh yeah, and how was your weekend?

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