Thursday, March 12, 2015
The weather is very mercurial here in Southern California. The weekend was crystal clear and cool, but by Tuesday, the clouds blew in, speckling the sky with piebald shreds like a torn-apart blanket. Yesterday on my commute home, big fat drops of rain spattered on my windshield as I drove along the coast.
Today, the Santa Ana winds are up, hot fierce wind from the deserts pouring through our canyon to the ocean, a harbinger of record heat that's expected by Sunday. When I went out this morning to walk Jack, it tossed my hair into my eyes. Walking on the street, I could hear the wind rush through the trees, high overhead.
Pinus sabiniana, also called the gray pine or the digger pine, are tall open trees with long needles and large cones that, when they drop onto our flat rooftop, you can hear them fall. The seeds were once prized as food by the Native people who lived here. My neighbor has three tall pine trees, growing in the strip between his driveway and ours. When the wind is high, it rushes through the pine boughs and sounds like ocean waves.
Here in Topanga, though our hills are thickly forested with coast live oaks, and volatile, non-native eucalyptus, it's the pine trees that speak the wind to us.