“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to
carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet and philosopher (1861-1941)
I heard Easter weather in the Crescenta Valley was perfect, as it was 325 miles to the north. We were in San Francisco to attend a family wedding. Though fog shrouded 70% of the time, the Golden Gate Bridge welcomed visitors on Easter with an unobstructed view – the day was bright and clear. Warm breezes gently escorted sailboats in and around the harbor. No bunny and lilies, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Considering the bridge is listed among the great monuments, its paint color – International Orange – seems a little lacking in imagination. But the story behind choosing the color is rich.
The bridge’s consulting architect, Irving Morrow, gets credit for the choice. To clarify, Golden Gate is referring to the straight (not the bridge) at the entrance to the bay.
When construction began in 1933, Morrow noticed the primer on the steel beams was reddish orange. As the structure took shape, he witnessed how it became luminous in the shifting atmosphere of the San Francisco Bay. Since bridges are usually gray, silver or black, Morrow had to convince the permitting agency – the Dept. of War – to keep this wild and non-traditional color.
To be used as the final paint coat, the primer’s color was blended with a few added tones. I imagine, from the artist’s perspective, “the bridge” blends and contrasts nicely with the gray fog, the golden and green hills, the blue water, and (when you can see it) the blue sky.
Heading home, the contrast in scenery was sobering. Gone was the color. Springtime along California’s Central Valley normally displays grassy hillsides, blossoming fruit trees and newly planted crops. Instead, the landscape was mostly brown. A majority of farm fields lay fallow, ready to plant and then abandoned. The severity of the drought was evident. Warm and dusty winds blew a few tumbleweeds across the highway as we continued south.
Warm weather welcomed us home, and not one drop of my predicted rain. But, hold on to your umbrella! The next seven days will be a weather roller coaster ride.
During this time winds will intermittently blow. On Friday, there is a slight chance for a shower and/or thunderstorm in the forecast. Accompanying the system is below normal temperatures. Enjoy for Sunday begins a real warm-up. By Tuesday, a northeast flow (air mass) pushes highs to around 100 degrees.
Just a little practice run for our soon-to-be summer!
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta
Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at