Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter in California

Did I hear somebody say that we don’t have seasons in Southern California?

All right, we don’t experience days of freezing rain, but the main route into Los Angeles from the Central Valley and the Northern part of the country is closed because of snow. I stand at the base of the surrounding mountains and watch their rolling summits begin to shiver white. The air smells crisp with snow.

No, we don’t have subzero winds blowing off an icy lake, but soaking rains are making the hillsides soggy and unstable. Rain licks the trunks of oak trees and kisses the roots of the toyon–the “holly wood” for which Hollywood is named. Liquidy breath coaxes seeds that were liberated by fall fires and spread by Santana winds to burst forth in a green carpet of midwinter life.

It’s true the gray fist of winter never truly tightens, but it is winter here. It is just a different kind of winter than they feel in New York or North Dakota. This winter brings renewal. It sings in a loud wind-lashing voice. It flows down hillsides at flash flood speed and challenges the muddy slope to follow. This winter is a trickster; soft rain falling like a veil of mist lit by golden sunlight. Warm days chased by icy nights.

Summer is our extreme, our time of death.

California winter, embrace it for what it is–erratic changer of the land, unfettered rush of water, sprouter of the future.

California Autumn
Creatures of Summer

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