Friday, August 27, 2004

Indian Summer

Summer comes late to Berkeley.

Throngs of students bustle or lounge, depending on their ages and attitudes. The sun is bright, the air is warm, and tight, sleeveless t-shirts are the norm. Doors are open, and the scents of food and sounds of laughter waft out. On a porch step, two middle-aged men sip their beers and watch the antics of the dog across the street.

A song drifts from the chancellor's lawn; it's something by The Cranberries, sung a capello. A man sipping coffee narrowly averts a disastrous collision with a young woman who is inexpertly trying to skate while walking her dog. A motorcyclist zooms by, oblivious to the drama on the sidewalk, intent only on crossing the intersection before the light change.

The air stays warm even when the sun sets. The horizon, at first bright with the setting sun, dims in color until night has fallen. The sidewalks stay crowded for a while longer: people meeting people, people getting lost, people experiencing Berkeley for the first time or just getting reacquainted with the streets. At last, quiet falls; I listen to the lingering sounds of traffic and insects and the radio.