Crisp and Clear
I spent several years living in Japan during my twenties. Learning Japanese is not just a matter of phonetics and grammar, it also involves deciphering pictogram-like character combinations.
The character for “autumn” is a combination of two characters, “grain” and “fire.” The character for “clear weather” is a combination of two characters, “sun” and “blue.” These two compound characters together make akibare (ah-kee-bah-ray), which essentially means, “autumn clear skies.”
Having experienced several autumns in Kyoto, Japan, akibare evokes for me a crisp blue sky radiating vibrantly above the rich orange and red maple leaves accessorizing ancient temple grounds. People pointing to the sky saying akibare invariably wear a glowing smile of appreciation. Japan’s zingy blue October and November skies resonate with a magical power.
San Francisco seasons don’t always follow the expected pattern. Our summers are often chilly and damp, our late autumn days may be bright and crisp or enshrouded in thick fog, and winter might surprise us with warm sunny days.
Bay Area hikers don’t know from one minute to the next if they’ll be boxed in by fog, or exhilarated by clear blue skies.
I love a moody, foggy hike, but I also love days when our local skies reverberate with the same magical blue of an akibare day in Japan. In our present days of smoky haze, literally and figuratively, I dream of the clarity of stark azure skies.
This week’s Hike Notes introduce readers to El Polin Spring – Presidio Walk, a newly updated trail area that introduces an old historic part of San Francisco’s Presidio to visitors.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share.
New this week:
Hike Notes 115: El Polin Spring – Presidio Walk
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.