Sunshine & Noir & Wind

Even the trees are confused; their branches already laden, gilded in midwinter blossoms. Along this street they are lined like misplaced and motionless images from some distant, idyllic spring. I can hardly stand to be in the car, the air is hot and stale with a slight electric quality. When I open the door to the house, my dog barks for no reason. As the sun sets I hear sirens and I expect maybe the grass in the morning will be littered with scraps of what-have-you, detached palm fronds….


Pause. Right there, I was about to describe the Santa Ana Winds. You see, my dear readership comprising of almost exclusively not Southern Californians, there are four types of distinguishable weather in Southern California: Sun, Earthquake Weather, Brush Fires, and Santa Ana Wind. I was about to tell you about these here Santa Anas we’ve been having, when I remembered that Joan Didion did it better in 1965. I do defer to Ms. Didion:

“There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio Passes, blowing up sand storms out along Route 66, drying the hills and the nerves to flash point. For a few days now we will see smoke back in the canyons, and hear sirens in the night. I have neither heard nor read that a Santa Ana is due, but I know it, and almost everyone I have seen today knows it too. We know it because we feel it. The baby frets. The maid sulks. I rekindle a waning argument with the telephone company, then cut my losses and lie down, given over to whatever it is in the air. To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.”

California, the mythic and the bizarre!


What this all apparently leads to for me at least, the lesson I was destined to learn this time via the prophetic and serendipitous nature of the hyperlink, is this: as I haphazardly googled my heart out in order to find a decent excerpt from Didion’s essay, I also happened upon a comment left by some bygone commenter on some bygone website…

“… (Didion) is such a gifted descriptive writer that she often can’t resist the temptation to wrap her otherwise keen observations with some Chandleresque hyperbole, just to see how the language turns out. It’s delightful to read, and leaves lasting impressions on your brain, but many of the impressions are, regrettably, not true…”

Have you ever heard a voice speaking through the void of years past and the awkward permanency of the internet and felt that it might be speaking, well, quite possibly directly at you? Hmph. It’s an odd feeling, really.

I’ve gotta go buckle down the hatches, the winds they are a’coming. Hold onto your Botox, SoCal.


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