Spindrift

We’re enjoying a wintry Santa Ana wind event here in SoCal. It’s warm and sunny with gusty winds about 15-25 miles per hour–not bad enough to cause damage. I hear it’s much windier north of us.

The National Weather Service defines a Santa Ana as “Strong down slope winds that blow through the mountain passes in southern California. These winds, which can easily exceed 40 miles per hour are warm and dry and can severely exacerbate brush or forest fires, especially under drought conditions.”

It makes for beautiful ocean views and a bit of spindrift, spray blown from the crests of waves by the wind. Also one of my favorite words because it sounds magical.

Spindrift.

Even though there were no whales or dolphins this time, it’s still the ocean and that’s plenty to be grateful for.

Skyward: Tail(s) of a Mare

Mares’ tails are my FAVORITE cloud formation.

(This led me down a grammar path: one tail as opposed to plural tails; hopefully I’m using proper syntax and punctuation.)

They’re a type of cirrus cloud known as cirrus uncinus. The name is derived from Latin and means “curly hooks”.

An old weather proverb goes, “Mares’ tails and mackerel scales make lofty ships to carry low sails.”

Cirrus uncinus clouds and patchy altocumulus clouds often mean that rain is on its way.

A mackerel sky is a common term for clouds made up of rows of cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds displaying an undulating, rippling pattern similar in appearance to fish scales. This is caused by high altitude atmospheric waves and can also signal changeable weather.

National Weather Service forecasted our region to receive about two inches of heavy rain along the coast, so everyone should prepare for the inevitable flooding and mudslides in the fireburned areas.

I wonder if the full Wolf Moon will affect the storm’s intensity or the total amounts of rainfall. I bet it will.

As above, so below.

…and so it begins

Here in SoCal, there are unusual excessive heat warnings for the coast; it could reach 105 degrees today. It was 87 degrees at 8:00 a.m. and now it’s 101 at 11:00 a.m. HOT!

The National Weather Service announced red flag warnings for high fire probability with humidity less than ten percent. The forecast also calls for areas of smoke. High heat records are being broken this weekend. Our desert temperatures could exceed 126 degrees. Crazy!

There’s ash on my car and deck from the fire in Alpine, fifty miles away in the east county. I tried to go for a walk at 7:15 and not only was it already too hot, but my breathing was compromised from the smoke so I had to turn back. As of right now, the (named) Valley fire is estimated to have burned 4,000 acres and is 0% contained. Ten structures have been destroyed.

And then I found this, the first one of the season. The first leaf fallen from the mulberry tree. Autumn in SoCal.

I see a few more yellow leaves up there; soon I’ll be raking them up and the branches will be barren.

Sometimes I hear the voice of my poetry professor and search for a poem to illustrate the bittersweet feelings of the changing season. This is a good one by Rossetti.

Autumn Song
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
By DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

A wintry day in Southern California

It’s a cold and rainy Saturday. I’m baking an apple pie and my captain is making yet another shelf for more seashells. Good times, y’all.

We don’t have snow on the ground, but some trees do lose their leaves and change color, like this fruit-bearing mulberry.

yellow leaves on treeI snapped a pic of a super active yellow finch in our artichoke plant.

yellow finch in artichoke plantTake the steps up to the second level

steps to the second leveland more steps to the highest point of our yard planted in California natives-sages, buckwheat, sumac, and cactus.

up to the third level

A view to the east of Calavera with Mt. Laguna further in the distance.

view of calavera and laguna

Check out our lawn and house from the hill. It’s a work-in-progress.

looking down from the hillI hope everyone is enjoying the last Saturday before 2013!