Finally it seems, summer has arrived.   Even though the temperatures are about normal for June, it feels downright hot.  I guess because winter stole the show from spring.  What we all need to do now is acclimatize to the incipient summer.

I couldn’t get out of the hot weather on Tuesday.  Starting my daily routine of checking web gauges (such a geeky thing) around the north coast, it was already warm in the geysers field, for that matter this morning too, where the 6 AM temperature above 2,000 feet was 78 degrees.  The thermal belt is alive and well.

Off to Healdsburg to photograph Fitch Mountain Road.  It’s always seven degrees warmer in Healdsburg so it felt like 95 degrees.

Back in the car after waiting in the sun for nearly an hour for a photo to appear.  It felt like an oven.  To top it off, the air conditioner blew a gasket when I started the car.  My trusty Honda Civic, nearly 203,000 miles old, pushes out very warm air now.

Windows down. I’m cruisin’ now.

Next stop at Windsor’s fire station number two, to photograph the incineration of American flags that were tattered and worn from years of service.  Needless to say, it’s warmer in Windsor Too.  In order to get a dramatic photo I got low and close with a wide angle.  The fire was really warm. Well hot actually, I’ve a few less arm hairs now.

Al Delsid, incoming commander of the Healdsburg Sons of the American Legion Squadron 111, prepares to retire a worn American flag by burning it, during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Scout leader Bill Wells gives the scout salute as an American flag is retired by flames during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Hundreds of worn American flags were retired by fire, during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Scout leaders from left, clockwise, Bill Wells, Mike Polkinghorn, Ken Baier and David Shenton retire a worn American flag by burning it, during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

American flags are retired by flame during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Even the smallest of flags were prepared for retirement during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

Scouts of every age salute as an American flag is retired by flames during a ceremony at the Windsor Fire Department on Windsor Road, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2011

I’ll take this weather over winter anytime. When I was 12,  my father and family friend “Tiny” -he was six foot eight- were digging a sewer trench at our home in Lake County.  Over there, it’s ALWAYS 2o degrees warmer in the summer.  Anyway, it was really hot and my poor dad and Tiny were trying to dig through soil with an inordinate amount of rocks contained there-in.  These two able bodied men looked as though someone had turned a hose on them for several minutes.

Watching, as most 12 year-olds do, I casually quipped that I loved this hot weather and hoped that it stayed for the rest of the summer.  My dad looked up from his sweat drenched face and gave me a look that I still remember 37 years later.

It was the first and last time I ever saw disgust on his face.

Heeding his other worldly grimace, I sheepishly excused myself, hopped on my bike and pedaled down to the beach for a swim in the lake.

-Kent Porter