They are coming. Yesterday, a few hours to remind us. Today it is still. But tomorrow, or soon, we will feel the static electricity and the unease that pervades the LA Basin as the tumult increases.
The vientos de Satán have made plans and are on the rise.
“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”
—Raymond Chandler, “Red Wind” (1938).
Something about these winds disturb me to a near psychotic feeling of the flight reaction. It’s all too creepy and unsettling; I have to leave LA whether I am there for business or pleasure.
With the winds come the fires. It’s a two-fer. We build out and up into areas in which the natural ecosystem requires fires for rejuvenation. Does this stop the sprawl? Will it ever?
A few months later, if the rains beat down heavily and we are recovering from a drought cycle, there will be mud to contend with. Houses slipping down from their perches atop hillsides exhausted from water lust, and unable to absorb it.
In both cases, people seem astounded. Why the fires? How can we build fire-resistant houses that can stay attached to the staggering views? Common sense says nature always wins. Stupid wins, too, and we never learn.
The winds arrive, and I rev my wheels for a long drive up Interstate 5 to my adopted city of cool breezes.