Sunday, December 4, 2011

Out West



Once upon a time, the Santa Ana winds were like the Indians in an old John Ford Western. 30 Indians would descend and surround a wagon train, whoop it up, then for no apparent reason, race up the hill and out of frame.

Time for pioneer ladies to wipe the dirt from a child's face and the menfolk to do the menfolk things -- fix a wagonwheel or something. Then you'd see 300 or 3000 Indians biding their time at the top of the ridge.

That was your father's Santa Ana -- a wind that would blow down the mountains, wreak some havok, then inhale mightily back up the San Gabriels, to sit for awhile, discuss evil deeds in deep voices, before the grand exhale.

If last week is any indication, the wind has moved beyond strategic battles; once it arrives, it won't leave; it won't stop to strike a pose, hold a powwow and rest the horses. It will just come down the hill. Down and down the hill, relentlessly.

No time for you to boil water and plenty of it, tether the cow, check your email.

Five days without heat, light, phone, communication.

And the Cavalry? We still have one, of sorts. It will swoop in to rescue the towns. Not in alphabetical order.

34 comments:

  1. Did u take these shots with your old camera? Btw, Wind Watch continues for the next 48hrs.

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  2. Glad you're OK, at least you're posting. Hope all is well.

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  3. Interesting comparison, and I especially like the pics. Nice work!

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  4. Yer on target, Pilgrim.

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  5. "Let 'im wait," says County, chewin' on his cheroot. "See how it feels. Mebbe next time Altadeener'll remember who butters his breeyad."

    Y'all complained about County. County's gonna make yew suffer, pardner.

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  6. I'm melting, and it's lovely. I've cranked the heat to 75 degrees. Just in case.

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  7. Glad your OK.

    I'm a little worried about what extreme weather could mean for us, seein' as how we're entering the season where 4' of snow in a day is normal.

    Time to stock up the pantry. I wish I had a wood stove.

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  8. So the folks at Zebadena county can be lucky sometimes...

    Stay safe, KB. It sounds pretty crazy there.

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  9. cavalry - my Dad was a stickler for that. why i remember, I don't know

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  10. Apparently more on the way. Be safe.

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  11. What a great analogy. Injuns. Poifect!

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  12. Calvary/Golgotha (Place of the Skull) = where Christ died

    Cavalry = horses

    I'm a Literalist.

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  13. I read this last night just before falling asleep so I didn't pick up on all the subtleties, OK, none of them. 5 days? You and the rest of the Deners should go off-grid. That'll learn 'em. Learn 'em good.

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  14. lern 'em good by going off grid Denafolk.

    But, it does make me wonder what the good folks of SoPas did to piss off the gods of power and light?

    Guess you should ask the Calvary folk if you can pray with them next time, maybe that'll show 'em. If not, I'd wait for the calvary to ride in and save you.

    Either case, I'd pray and ride soon---rumor has it there's more wind coming soon. And think about solar power or a generator!

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  15. CP - Yup

    Banjo, the top one was the Santa Ana blowing at 100 mph. I tried to video it, but it just sounded like Niagara Falls.

    P - You do that really really well.

    Ooo Patti, I'd invest in that wood burning stove. It occurred to all of us that, even tho the temp dips to the upper 30's at night, we aren't a land that gets seriously cold.

    Shell, we had been lucky in SoCal in terms of weather extremes. Guess the luck done wore out.

    Ok, Bandit AND Paula: "A place in the skull will save us!"

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  16. Trish -- I'm tempted not to change it just so everyone will know how funny you are.

    Yes, I'm going online to see how that thar generator contraption works.

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  17. I was pretty sure your ongoing silence indicated trouble.

    But *five* days without anything?!?

    Yikes.

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  18. Hiker, you've just distilled over 2,000 years of Christian commentary into a succinct and extrememly interesting turn of phrase. Why am I not surprised?

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  19. love the story. and really love the second photo. glad 'yer utilities are back aftr 5 of 'em 'ol darngonnit days.

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  20. I'm going to make a christmas tree our of my palm fronds. I have so many, that I may be able to use the rest to make a thatch roof for the shed. Maybe rub my finger across the blade of a knife; stare at Mr V's neck. It's what pioneer women do.

    glad to hear your back on the grid

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  21. I tried not to take the wind, or SCE personally. But I was DONE by Saturday night. Thank God I was WARM by Sunday morning--

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  22. I live in Santa Clarita and the winds have started up this morning-AGAIN

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  23. Hiker. It comes natural.

    Trish. The good folks of South Pas were enjoyin' their lovely city while their city council wasted taxpayer money runnin the good sheriff outa town and now they don't got nothin in place but a air-head mayor and a figurehead chief of po-lice.

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  24. At least we get something other than wind knocking out our power. Sadly, it's usually snow. But I love Petrea's comment.

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  25. That's right, K. Five days without Netflix.

    Alex, you speak my language.

    PA, do you know how many times I heard RC quoted last week? If anyone can do that Christmas tree, you can. And b4 I paint my dead apricot blue.

    Des, you beat our street by about 9 hours.

    Kalei, I had a horse stabled at Santa Clarita once. I love that countryside, but it's hotter, colder, and windier than we are.

    Marjie, I'd bet my bottom dollar you guys have one massive generator.

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  27. I love this cowboy tale. It don't matter what y'all say, it done get chilly here in Altadena.

    I went for coffee Sunday morning wearing an Icelandic wool sweater, wool scarf, furry boots. I felt like an idiot when I walked into the sunny and warm Sidewalk Cafe. I wanted to tell everyone, "my house is an icebox! I haven't thawed yet!" What a treat to be toasty last night.

    PA, you are too funny. Love the palm frond Christmas tree idea.

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  28. Enjoyed your post: story from the "old days" and your photos.
    Glad you've got power again.

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  29. Love the molecules of the Santa Anas.

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  30. It's one thing to go "five days without heat, light, phone, communication" if you've decided on your own to go on a Luddite Vacation, but quite another to have it thrust upon you via 100-mile-per-hour winds. Yikes! Glad you've been re-powered. Hope your town is next on the Cavalry's list.

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  31. save a horse, ride a cowboy...;-)

    and Petrea, I know the story of what happened to the top cowboy in SoPas and have known the "new" guy for 30+ years. I'd have to agree that might piss off the gods enough to create this sort of mishegas, if one believes in such things. Small town politics at its worst.

    Am thinking someone might make a mint by ordering a truckload of generators for the next disaster.

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  32. I may not have told you lately, but you are an amazing writer...

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  33. Well shucks ma'am...you've done made me fall off my saddle a hootin' and a hollerin'!!!

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