I love the climate in Southern California. I am writing that, having just come in from a hike in relentless rain, blustery winds and low temperatures.
Clearly, this is not the world of unending sunshine that comes to mind when you hear the words Beverly Hills and Venice Beach. On the contrary, it is the variety that is so stimulating. Not just the difference between the baking summers and the drenching winter days but even hour by hour.
Today the temperature ranged from 38 degrees Fahrenheit to 52, not a wild swing but three times as much, for example, as Moscow’s, famed in history for its extremes. Two or three weeks ago we were worrying about water supplies in a six-year drought. Today I’m wondering if I cleared the gutters enough for the downspouts to handle the pounding they are taking.
As I came indoors and my numb hands peeled off my soaked clothes, I happened to see a pair of shorts that had just come out of the washing machine. Shorts! The very thought gave me the shivers. Yet only two weeks or so ago I was wearing them on the same hike as today.
And as if the change in temperature and precipitation isn’t enough, the wind is capricious enough as to be unforecastable from one bend in the trail to another. The other day I saw a cyclist on a steep part of the trail fighting to keep moving against a fierce wind. Coming downhill! Yet a few hundred feet further on along the switchbacks, the calm was so complete that you wondered what nasty little game the weather gods had up their sleeves. All that in a round trip of 3 miles.
There’s just one fly in the ointment. We need classic Hollywood weather on Jan. 1 as the television pictures of the Rose Parade go out to the watching millions in the rest of the Northern hemisphere. Although huddled against the cold themselves, into their conversation of late there has crept a tone dangerously close to pity for Californians caught between wildfires and earthquakes. For once, I’m with the Realtors: On that day let’s have sun-kissed perfection, please.