Sunday, November 7, 2010

Santa Ana

life destroyed by wild fires, sprouting a new shoot nearby
Walking out of our favorite bookstore,  I feel the sun beating down on my head, my skin burns too like I was standing too close to a roaring fire place.  Shielding my eyes and squinting,  I look out cautiously and see the expansive pavement glint in the white sunlight.   Carla mentions something about a Vegas flashback, as it feels at least 100 degrees already, while the day is still young. 

Growing up in Beijing, November meant heavy jackets, cooling winds, falling leaves and occasional drizzles.  Friends living in Colorado, Chicago and New York have all shared fantasy level autumn leaves situations and tales of how crisp cool airs brought refreshment from the sweltering summers.  However,  here in Southern California, rather than the arrival of a proper autumn (as reported by "the Bag Lady" from UK), we have the year's first heat wave and the Santa Ana condition.

It is actually not a saintly lady wearing flowing dresses bearing judgments.  It is a hot wind that comes around whenever it feels like, though more commonly in October though December months.  The arrival of Santa Ana usually brings a few things:
  • Dry hot wind blowing away all clouds and any other semblance of moisture, 
  • Air conditions across southern California going into overdrive,
  • One or more power shortage or outages  (brown or blackout), 
  • Fire hazard warnings or an outright wild fire as was the case of 2007 that spread through the area and consumed hundreds of homes
Despite of all these (though the 2007 wild fire was devastatingly heartbreaking),  as a long time Californian I had grown to appreciate the Santa Ana.  For it had raised alert to the danger and the childish powers of the nature.  It also most definitely brings us the world famous clear blue skies, in the midst of the gloomiest and coldest months.   Good or bad, this defines the southern California year round active life style and beach culture.  Like children spoiled by daily dose of candies, we are spoiled by lady Santa Ana, perpetually making plans for the outdoors; a hike, a walk in the park, a jog, surf with a buddy,  frolic in a swimming pool, a tennis match, a basketball practice, or...?  The list goes on.  We pout and gasp shamelessly on a single day of rain,  forgetting to look up even when the blue angels was practicing just overhead in impressive tight formations, or what to do with ourselves, or how to drive on the newly wet and slick roads.

Santa Ana, like all things in life, offers up a plate of sweetness with a warning.  Why not find a good toothbrush and savor without fear?  I say goodbye to Carla and head to the beach, sans wet suit.   Life is good.


  1. Such a contrast to freezing Blighty. Lovely imagery. :)

  2. @Baglady: thanks, we'd love a white Christmas every now and then...




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