Archive for October, 2012

Gust

October 27, 2012

October, Los Angeles. Women start wearing boots, Starbucks brings back pumpkin lattes, and people carve jack-o-lanterns. But it still doesn’t feel like fall.

For one thing, the jack-o-lanterns tend to rot.

Fall is the hottest time of the year here. It’s when the Santa Ana winds kick up over the Great Basin, heat up over the Mojave, and come racing down the hills and canyons, right into Los Angeles.

The Santa Anas turn the sky red and shake the fronds from the palm trees. They blow dust in your eyes and make you want to put on Chapstick. Most years, they fan forest fires.

When the Santa Anas are blowing, you can sit at the edge of the ocean and feel a hot wind on your back instead of a cool breeze on your face. It feels backwards, like the god of wind has a hangover.

Maybe the strangest thing is that no one outside Southern California has heard of the Santa Anas. They’re a thing, like the leaves in New England or the monsoon in India. But somehow they don’t fit our idea of autumn, so every year, they just blow out to sea. And disappear.

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Nazarene

October 12, 2012

I’ve been taking pictures of the sign.

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Sometimes they’re really direct.

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Sometimes they sound like something Oprah would say.

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Although if you ask me, this comes awfully close to a complaint.

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And this one practically invites grousing.

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Some make it sound like you won the soul lottery.

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Some are a lot more, well, realistic.

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Sometimes they inspire me.

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Sometimes they kinda creep me out.

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But my favorites are the really loopy ones. Straight rain?

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Parachute

October 12, 2012

I live around the corner from an evangelical church. They have a sign out front where, every week or so, they post a new inspirational slogan. Maybe calling it a slogan isn’t correct, since God is involved. Spiritual maxim? Motivational chestnut?

Anyway, I used to walk by without paying much attention. But one day the sign said, “LET GO. LET GOD.” Something about that just makes me sigh with relief. It doesn’t seem a particularly Christian idea. An atheist like me could turn it into, “RELAX. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF THE UNIVERSE.”

Or as my meditation teacher put it, life is like a long airplane ride. You have some nice conversations, eat a little food, hold your lover’s hand, watch a few movies, and if you’re lucky see the Grand Canyon. But one way or the other, the airplane is going to crash in the end.