The Weather

Microclimates

My dad just served me a weather post, in the most improbable way.

We’d just woken up and were sitting at my kitchen table, in my fifth-floor walk-up, looking out my window over the flats of central LA, watching the new old folks home rise up in front of us, all scaffolding and Tyvek wrap, down on Hollywood and Western, an intersection that’s on its way up from low-rise to high-rise, thanks to the fact that it has a subway stop.

He was eating toaster waffles with jam, dressed in his painting clothes, all set to strike out for Route 14 and the Mojave, a place that he thought would make for good painting on account of its stripped-bare ridges and the fact that, coming home from the northeast on a Friday afternoon, he wouldn’t sit in traffic. And, looking out the window, watching the hardhatted figures up early, already at work, up on the scaffolding, he said to me, “In a place this big, you really get a lot of weather. It’s like, there you’ve got the clouds, and here you’ve got the blue, and right ahead you’ve got fog. With a city this massive, there’ve got to be a huge amount of microclimates hiding out, but also, in a place this flat, you really can see them. Up in the Bay Area, we’ve got microclimates, but they’re all hidden behind the hills.”

One could say my dad’s perspective on the weather here in Los Angeles would be an unconventional one. Because on the whole, LA isn’t too flat, and in LA, it’s hard to see too far into the distance on account of the particulate in the air, a particulate that blurs vision, making features like microclimates all mix together. But my dad was living in the moment. From my kitchen window, LA is flat. And from my window, on this clear morning, one microclimate hid behind Windsor Hills to the south, and another played on the fringe of the marine layer off to the west, and a third swamped downtown to the southeast, the skyscrapers there stuck behind a shifting layer of golden morning translucence.

Tom Dibblee is Trop’s editor. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and his nonfiction has appeared in Pacific Standard, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Point. He lives in Los Angeles.