The Santa Anas blew into town yesterday, with winds up to 100 miles an hour in LA; we fared better down here in Orange County, only about 40 MPH. Raymond Chandler once described the Santa Ana’s as “those hot dry [winds] 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.”
I must admit I can relate to the carving knife and the husband’s neck part, but I digress, that has nothing to do with the Santa Anas. Thing is, I love the Santa Anas (well, except for all the bamboo leaves I have to sweep up when they’re done); they sculpt the clouds into amazing snowy shapes while blasting away that murky layer of smog that obliterates Catalina Island and turns the LA basin into a landscape straight out of the once futuristic movie, Blade Runner.
Not only that, but they set off the wind chimes around my house, especially the barrel-sized handcrafted Soleri brass bell suspended between the garage and the house, with a sound that celebrates my empire of one (and two dogs). And then there’s the strange otherworldly light that illuminates the sky as the winds die down, and the sun sinks down toward it’s destination; the hills around me glow with a soft apricot light and a breeze wraps me in its warm embrace.
Later, the winds return with a vengeance and whip through the three different kinds of bamboo around my yard, tossing the elegant canes and leaves about; I fall asleep to the sound of creaking, rustling and sighing.