Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Winds are Back

{my mom, on a windy day in Paris}

Never have I felt winds like the Santa Anas.  They come out of nowhere, at full blast, like someone's spinning the Earth at twice its normal speed.

Just walking out of the office to get lunch is an ordeal.  The tall glass door to the building either swings open wildly or won't budge until I throw myself into it, shoulder first.  And then there's the problem of only having two hands.  One hand to stabilize my purse, one to grab my sweater, and there are none left to hold the hair out of my face.  Oh look, there's me, blindly hobbling out of the parking lot again.

On the night the winds came last year, I was sitting in my office, in a skyscraper made largely of glass, when the window pane next to my desk started literally shaking -- threatening to burst right out of its steel frame, right on top of my head.  I was so terrified I nearly ducked for cover!  Mind you, I had no idea at the time that the Santa Ana winds even existed.  I just assumed L.A. was immune to any natural forces -- I mean, that's why people move here, right?

And then I couldn't stop talking about them.  It was just outrageous to me that in this concrete, man-made, over-built place, where nature was hardly ever acknowledged, let alone a prominent part of life, these winds -- these hard-core, no-nonsense winds -- existed.  And not only did they exist, they were a totally accepted part of life.  As in, my co-worker's reaction to my microsoft communicator message reading: "WTF????!!! IT'S THE APOCALYPSE!!!" was "It's just the Santa Ana's."

Right.  Just the Santa Anas.  Just the CRAZIEST winds ever.

The winds started yesterday again, and even though it means my bangs will be completely out of order for the next couple days, I love these Santa Ana's.  I love them for their novelty, their unexpectedness, their guts.  They stare L.A. in its palm-tree-lined, 75-degree-with-0%-humidity face, and walk all over it.  They are the only natural force that dares step foot in this man-made paradise.

They are a reminder that even if we pave over the orange orchards, build bike paths on the sand, and skyscrapers in the hills, we are no match for Mother Nature.  She owns us.

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