Thursday, May 2, 2013

Whatever you do, DON'T head for the hills!

the view from my front door

From Joan Didion: I recall being told, when I first moved to Los Angeles and was living on an isolated beach, that the Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew. I could see why. The Pacific turned ominously glossy during a Santa Ana period, and one woke in the night troubled not only by the peacocks screaming in the olive trees but by the eerie absence of surf. The heat was surreal. The sky had a yellow cast, the kind of light sometimes called "earthquake weather." My only neighbor would not come out of her house for days, and there were no lights at night, and her husband roamed the place with a machete. One day he would tell me that he had heard a trespasser, the next a rattlesnake. 

I knew the Santa Anas were blowing before I opened my eyes this morning. "Fire and Ice" read a headline from the Los Angeles Times. The photo was of the snowstorm in the Midwest. Here the wind felt like a blast furnace. Reports came over the radio. The 101 Freeway had lanes closed. Later the wind was blowing the fire toward the sea, and the alternate route along the coast had a section about to be shut down, too. Sirens. The university campus and homes evacuated. More sirens and the drone of helicopters. Luckily, this is all "over the hill" to the east of us. 

I was out for a bit this morning, and when I came back, my mom was on the patio eating her cereal.

She likes the sun, and it's seldom warm enough here for her to get a little on her skin. "I had to wear my hat," she said, "to keep my hair out of my eyes and mouth." Stuff was blowing by the boat dock. A large inner tube, a tarp, patio furniture cushions.

Then as I sat here at my desk, the wind stopped. When it started again, it was a gentle breeze from the ocean. But still, the sirens are wailing in the distance, and the helicopters are buzzing like bumblebees.

If you want to read more of the Joan Didion piece it's from "The Los Angeles Notebook."


Ms. Moon said...

The wind is blowing here too but it is nothing like yours. Nothing. May all settle soon and the sirens go home.

Elizabeth said...

No one has written of our weather like Didion, and that passage is so great. We haven't had anything, yet, over here in midtown. Not even wind. Yet.