Since we conducted our Featured Interview with Elyse Graham a few months ago, time has been on our minds. This time is more complex than minutes, hours, days, or months and instead are entire movements of time: the seasons. Southern California seasons have been a constant point of intrigue as they are amorphous clouds that pass slowly over each other, sometimes without any recognition. You may be busy working in a warm, sunny April and carry on through a warm, sunny July and on into a warm, sunny November: where did time go? It was still here–you just missed it.
Since moving here, I’ve had a tough time of dealing with what time of year it is. Hearing Elyse’s story about being without an academic calendar or defined climactic movements to distinguish time, it was almost like an echo: moving to or from Los Angeles comes with a learning curve of discovering time all over again. After a life mostly spent on the East coast and living in Washington, DC before here, seasons were clear. Even if you live in a place more Southern than Los Angeles on the East coast (or Middle America), you still get seasons.
We’ve touched on the “moving to Los Angeles” phenomena on several occasions but marking the seasons is something left to casual party chatter or a shared Los Angeles war story. This phenomena may be attributed to the general idea of getting older or the old saying that “time passes by when you’re having fun.” Fresh from a trip to Portland, you could see time changing as you are waiting for the rain to stop and for the sun to come back out. You are hearing about those times in the not-too-far future when it’s sunny and the weather is kind. There is a constant sense that the rain and bleh can be shaken away–but not until the Spring, lasting through the Summer. We only see things in “Not as hot.” or “Not as sunny.”
Like Elyse and like many Angelenos, you find a way to cope with time’s passing and you start to notice the changes. You realize that pre-Summer, Summer 1, Summer 2, and Not-Summer are our quarterly seasons. Instead of constantly buttoning up at all hours of the day for Not-Summer, you’re drawing out your coat more and more at night. You find some trees turn from green to a slight green-yellow or green-red–but they never go bare. In most cases, they start to rebloom in late January and then you know that Not-Summer is about to explode pretty hard and surprise the trees.
These are my markers of time, at least. I also try to make personal quarterly rituals to help define how I live. This was absolutely integral as my first two years in Los Angeles were a literal blur of working 9AM to 7PM in a windowless office, nearly every day for two years: time easily passes through your fingers. The idea of time in Los Angeles is fascinating and something we all process in our own unique ways. How do you process it? Let us know in the comments and, if you are like Elyse and have turned to art making, totally send it our way as we’d love to share.