September. Back to School Season. Silly Season, the pundits call it, when it’s an election year.
I’m celebrating Secret Summer Season.

The first time I visited San Francisco was in February, fifteen years ago. I’d left the East Coast blanketed in snow, 30 degrees, windy. I must have come the one February ever with 5 consecutive days of sunshine and 60ish degree weather: it was glorious, I was smitten. My guidebook map had no topographical markers, so I walked from Union Square to Coit Tower, from Moscone to Noe Valley. I took the bus to Mission Dolores and, standing in the cemetery, smelling jasmine, I resolved to move here. The first year I lived here, I bought a new heavy coat in October… and never wore it. I wasn’t sure of the year, way out into June, because I was still waiting for winter.

So my laments and complaints this summer have been an exception. I’ve resolved to renew my efforts to be “present” and practice acceptance, if not for myself, then as an example for my son. I don’t want him to spend a lifetime wishing he could sit out in July, instead of enjoying siting out in October. Longing for leaves to turn orange, and so not seeing orange trees. Longing for snow, and ignoring the mysterious, evocative fog swirling over Twin Peaks. Besides, we do get summer here, it’s just not the same time of year as it is on the East Coast. And really, what I was missing wasn’t summertime being in July, or summertime temperatures, it was summertime stuff, like swimming, sitting out on a warm night drinking beer, running in sprinklers. Movies outside, picking berries and eating too many, fingerpainting on the patio.

So I’ve decided summer started just last week, maybe that’s what the Autumnal Equinox is all about: the beginning of San Francisco Summer, which will last until Halloween, our Labor day, our emblematic San Francisco city holiday.

Secret Summer activities for this week

Movies…
Two free movie nights this week, outdoors and no car required; indoors and for a good cause.
Big Lebowski. Friday, September 25th, 8 p.m. All ages. Free. Dolores Park. Dolores at 18th.
Shrek 3. Friday September 25th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 0-12, plus parents. Free, proceeds from sales of pupusas, drinks, etc. benefit the school. Flynn Elementary School, 3125 Cesar Chavez at Folsom.

Swimming
Mission Pool remains open until Halloween, and Garfield Pool through at least October 10. Full schedules are available on site, or here.

Berry Picking
I took a hike in Glen Park Canyon just this week, and it is warm and full of ripening blackberries, which Jasper and I happily ate. Most of the lower bushes were already picked-over, so they probably won’t last past next week. Luckily, BART makes this a fairly quick and easy activity, and what a treat: Islais creek, berries, schist, the San Francisco alligator lizard, and lots of birds, all one stop away.

Fingerpainting
Precita Eyes is back in full swing, with toddler art at 10:30, Monday through Thursday. But Saturday is their big day, for big kids at least; Viva Muralismo, Precita’s 2010 Gala Fundraiser, starts at 6 p.m. VIP/meet the artist tickets are available online, or go later and pay at the door.