Saturday, November 15, 2008

Living with Santa Ana Winds

There are three things you have to know about Santa Ana winds in California.
First they blow away all the smog. Colors shine bright, outside looks like an expertly cleaned painting.

This old rose, name long-ago forgotten, is one I cherish. It's blooms are beautiful. But the first few years, it only put on on one show, in spring. Only its compelling beauty spared it from being shoveled out for a more ever-blooming variety. With the passing of years, the roses' bloom time increased- with surprise showings sprinkled longer along the seasons. Like some of the best people: maturity has mattered. I'm fortunate not to have dumped it when it first didn't meet my expectations. It's a keeper.
The second thing is, these warm days turns on the the gardening gene. You wake up wanting to garden. To turn the dirt. Add compost. Pick out the weeds. Fertilize the flowers. Soak some seeds.
The speaker at So Cal Hort this week, Greg Rubin, owner of California's Own Native Landscape Design, glorified the virtues of shredded Redwood compost. You may have seen it bagged up as 'Gorilla Hair.' It holds put on hillsides and IF it burns, it does so at a much lower temperature than other decomposing mulches. This would be an excellent choice for our back hill.

The third thing about Santa Ana winds- you've been watching on TV. They are Mother Nature's blow torch breath.

The pit that opens in the gut whenever the unmistakable rising of smoke is sited is something you never grow out of.

The distance can be deceiving. You check the TV and radio to to see how close. If it is in Diamond Bar- it is time to get packing. There is more than one fire in this region. The fire corridor runs along between here and the Border's Store I worked at for two years. Brea, Yorba Linda, Anaheim Hills and Corona. No way I can reach anyone there to help. Leave the lines open in case anyone needs a place to spend the night. I say a prayer that Chino Hills State Park is a big enough buffer for firefighters to stop fire's spread this direction.

Fire is the ultimate democratizer- it has no preference for rich, poor: black, white. It will destroy us all if given a chance.

All the brush clearance I managed on my own- it seems so little now. I tell myself it is far better than in years past. Turn on the sprinklers. Put away the patio cushions- cancel plans for the day. Make sure the windows on the house are shut.

This is how we live in California when the deep blue sky becomes filled with smoke the color of a battleship. We hear the droning of water-filled aircraft piercing the smoke's hull. We feel the
smoke in our lungs. We pray for the firefighters to succeed. Quickly and with safety.
So Cal Hort is Southern California Horticulture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seeing the smoke so close must be awfully frightening. Keep us posted! Sue