The Weather

Gust v. Ghost

During my first winter in Los Angeles there have been two particularly windy days; days when the wind was enough to knock dead palm fronds from the trees lining my Echo Park street. The first was Dec. 1, but it happened again a few days ago, Feb. 15. The weatherman on the local news called them “Santa Ana winds.”

When I hear that name I think of the Mexican general and president, the man who played such a large role in Mexican Independence from Spain. Are these winds his revenge? Revenge for the Mexican-American War, for the land we reclaimed as Southern California.

But it’s spelled differently: his name is Santa Anna, and the winds are the Santa Anas. The weatherman probably refers to something topographical, and you’re probably thinking I should just Google it.

But I like living with the mystery, imagining a 150-year-old general becoming myth, blowing through the city, stopping up my driveway with palm fronds just to remind me where I am.

Chris Black lives with his wife in Los Angeles. He is a former associate editor at Black Clock and wrote feature articles on rubber duck races, birds of prey, and other mountain topics for The Vail Trail weekly.