Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A short paean to the weather. I took a couple of cell phone pictures at work (above), which do nothing to describe the spectacular weather this morning.

LA is stunning after a rain. At least this part of LA - near the hills and the break between valley and valley. Yesterday, as it started to clear, we had three rainbows over the hill behind the lot, and the valley around had specials coming through the clouds. One building would be lit up as if glowing from inside, while next to it would be shadow. It really looked like Hollywood, as if some lighting man might step up and adjust the beam, and the whole picture would shift.

Today, it was unusually brisk as well, so it was clear, and crisp. I love these days. The Hollywood hills are a vibrant green, and the clear air makes the hills and grass look so voluptuous you want to reach out and touch them. Houses are tucked in between the trees, feeling cozy. The light is a bruise of gray with piercing sun, clouds are floating like stretched cotton on a blue, blue watercolor. Everything looks so close up it’s hard to judge distance.

Behind the studio, the hill dazzles, light changing seemingly by the moments as the clouds rush by heading west. There is a little tree that stands at the top, or that's what I think it is. When the hillside burned a couple of years ago, and transformers popped and exploded, the next day a lone tree was still on the top of the hill. It's always looked to me like a pig on a stick, so I call it the pig tree. I guess I could climb up there one day to see it up close, but I'm sure it would transform.

I am a mountain person. I love them. Take your oceans – they’re nice to visit, but from the Green Mountains in Vermont to the Hollywood Hills, I love the plush covered crags and the solidity. And it breaks up the eye. I lived on the plains until I was 12, endless corn and sky that seemed to stop at the end of every field. Mountains let me know how big everything is, but don’t overwhelm me with the impossible infinity of seas. I feel protected by mountains. Always have.

Then you look at the Valley. The mountains in front are desert hills; rocky, craggy, with bits of brush and brown as sand. Behind them, all the peaks are covered in snow, and since the snow level was down to 500 feet the whole mountain is dusted. Majestic. Your face feels just this side of numb, to remind you that you’re human, warm inside, and able to sense the elements with thermometer-like sensitivity. Outside and in your body.

365 degrees and scenes from desert to snow to tropical. It’s on these days I am ecstatic to live here. I used to hate pineapple. I had only ever had canned, so I thought it was nasty - syrupy and strange-tasting. Then my parents went to Hawaii and brought back a fresh pineapple. It was so sweet that I couldn’t believe I had ever mistrusted its gifts. And now, I can eat canned pineapple, since I know the platonic ideal of pineapple. It makes the other stuff more palatable. That’s the way I feel about LA – I know it will be brown and hot, possibly soon, and some days I won’t even see the mountains. But I’ve seen the platonic ideal, I know what’s hiding there. I want to tug on everyone’s sleeve on days like today and say “oh!oh!oh! Look at how beautiful it is! Today! Don’t miss it!”

On days like this it’s hard for me to feel anything but glee. I sit in my car and applaud.


Tanya Ward Goodman said...

You are the sweetest. This post made me teary. Love it.

Elizabeth said...

I LOVE this post. It made me so happy -- to read it, to savor the words, the exact words to describe it all here. Thank you!

How great is this phrase: "the light is a bruise of gray with piercing sun..."


Criticlasm said...

Thank you! :)