"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Santa Anas

I was born and raised in southern California.  And while it probably seems crazy to anyone still living in California, experiencing the Santa Ana winds that blow huge brush fires across the state or making the air so dry and brittle, I miss them. I don't know how to explain it but it's a part of my childhood that I didn't really realize wouldn't be the same everywhere I went in life. Recesses spent on the playground, dirt ground into our eyes by the winds, pretending to be so light they were blowing us away, hearing them howl past.

The plot of Janet Fitch's White Oleander relies heavily on the Santa Ana winds and captures what they are. I can even clearly remember the opening scenes of the movie version, Astrid's voice saying, "The Santa Ana’s blew in hot from the desert that fall. Only the Oleanders thrived. Maybe the wind was the reason my mother did what she did." Thinking of them makes me a little nostalgic for home.

So, to welcome in this Santa Ana season, a quote from White Oleander:

"The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw.  Only the oleander thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves.  We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I.  I woke up at midnight to find her bed empty. I climbed to the roof and easily spotted her blond hair like a white flame in the light of the three-quarter moon."
"Down below us in the streets of Hollywood, sirens whined and sawed along my nerves. In the Santa Anas, eucalyptus tress burst into flames like candles, and oilfat chaparral hillsides went up in a rush, flushing starved coyotes and deer down onto Franklin Avenue."

I like seeing a little bit of my true locale making it into literature and films and music. Everything doesn't always have to be set in New York City.


The Man Your Husband Is Worried About said...

I hate the Santa Anas. I spent 5th through 8th grades bike commuting three miles west to school, which meant coming home was into the 100-degree wind every afternoon. When people want to talk up the southern California climate, I think, "Are you kidding me? One month a year of continuous rain, one month a year of Santa Anas, and only about three Saturdays where going to beach won't involve a sweater."

Lund said...

There was a fire last night in the creek just before the horse rode by the big hole to hold flood water. They put it out fast.

Kristi said...

Nice post. I enjoyed reading it.

I know what you mean liking your locale in literature and film. It makes it seem better somehow. Never Been Kissed and My Big Fat Greek Wedding really seemed to capture my life growing up in suburban Chicago nicely. Pretty boring when compared to White Oleander and the Santa Ana winds. Just another way you are cooler than me. :)

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