Sunday, January 2, 2011

snow in los angeles

Above photo: no snow, not Los Angeles, not even a recent photo. But it was cold that day. /b

Apparently there is snow right now up in the Los Angeles area, especially through the grapevine on I-5, a couple of hours north of here. I wonder if it's snowing downtown, too? There's nothing quite like the surreal sight of palm fronds weighted down with snow, and the thought of Southern California youngsters hyper with delight and optimism as they try to build snowmen out of dirty sidewalk slush.

Snow would be a problem here, hard on my property's palm trees and other plants too, like the Meyer lemon tree I planted in the front yard last spring. But what an amazing sight it would be to awaken to a true winter wonderland right out of a movie or Christmas card.

As it must be for those So Cal kids, snow is exotic and a bit foreign to me. For the first fifteen years of my life I never saw or touched it for myself, never stepped into the profound cold of a snowy day. I finally felt it crunch under borrowed snow-boots one special day during high school, an exciting day trip with my classmates to snow-covered Alpine Meadows up at Tahoe.

While I was growing up in Concord, our local Mount Diablo was graced with a picturesque dusting of snow every year or two, visible from my neighborhood, and sometimes the snow line would drop down to the foothills. But snow on the streets of my home town happened rarely, maybe once in fifteen years. I'd have to check the records.

Such was the extent of my experience with snow. After that adventure with my friends (complete with heater failure in our bus during the frigid three hours homeward), several years would pass before I'd see the white stuff again.

Eventually I returned to the Tahoe area, this time for a series of ski trips with my new husband (that is to say, he skiied, and I wore ski outfits). We were married up there in March of 1980 with a handful of friends and relatives in attendance. The snow was drifted up around our cabin at Tahoe Donner to a height of nine feet, much to the delight of my father, who had never seen snow himself before that visit.

As interesting as snow is to me-- the way it muffles all sound, the way it transforms a landscape into something magical-- it doesn't occupy a special place in my psyche the way rain does. Rain is a fixed part of my personal iconography, and has an emotional component to it. But except for one set of precious memories of one particular Christmas in Maine-- stunning and unforgettable in its beauty-- snow in general is more of a curiosity.

Come December each year, I'm dreaming of a rainy Christmas. Snow, whether its on palm fronds or pine trees, isn't a part of my personally important dreams.

Even so, I hope the people up in LA are having a good time. Drive carefully, you guys.

No comments: