But last night and the night before I had a sudden sneezing fit. (scattering Vs. cards everywhere...) It passed so no big deal. The previous night, I had sat on the beach and watched the sunset for a while. The sky was pink and purple fading down to a deep orange. But, unlike the usual (impossibly beautiful, gaudy, spectacular) sunset, the fade was not a smooth blending of one hue into the next - but rather actually visible striations, causing bands of color descending down into the horizon.
This morning when I walked down to the beach, the water was a brilliant blue. I was struck by how different the Pacific and Atlantic shores are. On vacation on the East Coast, we'd huddle by the soothing waves of an absolutely brown ocean. Beaches closing due to medical waste washing up on shore were not uncommon. As a child I just got used to the idea that oceans weren't really blue, that was just some crazy thing in books. They're brown, just like the rivers and streams. Ugly, filthy, brown. Not so the Pacifc - which is as pleasing an azure as you might have asked for.
So anyway, there I am staring at the ocean, and I noticed just how a clear a day it was. I could see way out to the horizon - there wasn't even a little bit of fog or a cloud in the sky. In fact, I could see a band of brown just over the horizon way off in the distance. At first I thought maybe it was visible smog, like when I drive along Mulholland and look at the Valley in all its grotty glory. But then it finally clicked - Santa Ana winds were blowing. That's why it was dry and hot yesterday (in the 80's), why I was having allergies, why the air was so clear...but the brown band was dust blowing from the land out to sea.
For those of you that aren't locals, the Santa Ana is the few times a year when the winds shift - rather than blowing from ocean to land (thus making the beach cool and clean, and distinctly pleasant year-round) it reverses and the wind blows from land to sea. It crosses the Mojave desert, and the high desert, and uh, other stuff. So it's hot and dry and has a lot of dust in it. This is as close to a dramatic change in weather we have in Los Angeles. Well, except for the earthquakes, I suppose. But is that weather?
So today there's a Santa Ana blowing. But the ocean is still blue - and if possible, the sunsets are even prettier.