It’s windy in California.  The dangerous winds of autumn.  The leaves of the trees are starting to turn color while the grass dries.  The rains of winter haven’t touched the hills in seven months.  The air is dry.  Years of drought have killed millions of trees and a bonfire stands ready for that single spark.

Californians have always risked living in the land set on the great Pacific Ring of Fire.  Earthquakes and volcanoes rip through this land – shaping it, molding it, pushing the earth up from the ocean depths where grass, tree, and bear come to live in the sun.  A land of extremes.

Santa Ana winds.  Dry, hot, and blowing inland to the sea.  Backwards.  The air doesn’t bring in the refreshing sea air or the cleansing rain.  It brings dust.  It dries the grass, rattles the roof and swings the power lines.  It always comes in the fall.

Power.  Our modern world is driven by power.  Electricity driving the engine of the world.  Lights, TVs, stoves, refrigerators, cell phones, and computers.  We’ve lost the ability to see the night sky or grow our own food.  Each technological advance turns up the need for power lines across the forest and over the golden grass.

It only takes a spark.  A carelessly thrown cigarette, a lawn mower hits a rock, a campfire imprudently managed, the wind pushes an old tree into an electric line or the rusty clamp on a high tension line breaks in the Santa Ana gale …

Now we again watch as fire fills the air with smoke.  200,000 of our neighbors are ordered to flee the flames.  78 square miles are on fire and to prevent more sparks the electricity has been turned off to 2.7 million people.  Now they sit in the dark, fearing that they may need to join the exodus.

And in their control centers, offices, and seats of power, those charged with preventing this tragedy again prove they are unable to protect those they are suppose to serve.

Again nature proves its power over us.

And again we fail to learn the lesson we’re being taught.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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34 Responses to Wind

  1. So sad and scary. I hope you’re safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A friend in CA whose power is off posted a pic of windmills that says, “California: The state that generates power with wind, but shuts off power when it’s windy.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. G. J. Jolly says:

    In the recent past, I’ve complained about Californians moving to my home state of Colorado, driving prices sky-high, making it impossible for me to live there. However, as the years wear on, I can see why Californians would want to move. The dangers of living in California mount to huge proportions. I wonder if there will ever be an end to the drought along the lower west coast of the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had a number of friends move out of state (two to Colorado). In both cases the high price of living here drove them out. At the moment high prices alone have caused more people to leave California than are coming into the state. The drought has ease in most of the state, but I predict that it will come, last longer and involve states as far east as the Mississippi.

      Liked by 1 person

      • G. J. Jolly says:

        Can I assume you think it’s global warming? I wonder if it’s affecting the Asian coast of the pacific too.


        • Certainly the climate change is one of the factors in the fires. It is affecting the whole Pacific, including Asia. Our weather patterns for the western US come from the Pacific and a warmer Pacific changes where and when the rains fall.


  4. megdavisarts says:

    I hated the Santa Ana winds when I lived in L. A. I actually shouted at them one day ( on my own of course so no one would stare). I have a musician friend in a nursing facility in Palos Verdes. It’s his 3rd location : his home and studio was ruined by the fires 3 years ago, then he had to flee the fires in Malibua a year later and now I can only pray he’ll be ok. He lost his guitar collection and all the memerabelia from years as a writer for Bob Newhart and other shows. He has Parkinson’s and must rely on others. My heart aches for everyone affected by the fires, no matter what they lose its still precious.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dorannrule says:

    The CA fires look so horrendous., especially as they spread in hurricane force winds. Stay safe where you are Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As Pete Seeger wrote in Where Have All The Flowers Gone…”Oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?” Nature will ALWAYS win. Glad you are safe but gutted for those who are losing everything in these devastating fires. What a nightmare! Climate change will cause even more of these catastrophic events the longer we do nothing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christi says:

    Glad to hear you’re safe, but it’s still so worrisome and so many people affected.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Debra says:

    A week or so ago we were up in the mountains and the winds started. We packed up and headed for home. After the last couple of years and fires being so devastation, the winds make me very nervous. Another fire in Los Angeles County today, too. It’s really unsettling in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fires do seem to be getting bigger and more worrisome. I will admit that we haven’t been into the hills since August and likely won’t go back till after the rains start.


  9. You said it, Andrew–‘again’. I understand why they shut the electricity down just have never heard of that anywhere in the world, even third world nations. I am buying a generator. Any suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shutting the power has a limited effect on preventing fires. The current fire in Sonoma fire was started by a power line just before the power was cut. Didn’t work there. For an emergency generator? Depends on how much power you need. I like the Honda small generators for emergencies. Easy to use and have enough power to keep a refrigerator going and change phones, lap tops, etc. Won’t power a full house, but with a few rechargeable battery lights it would reduce the pain of an extended outage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting about the Sonoma fire. So you haven’t had outages where you live? My sister did–a long one.

        I’m actually considering the whole house generator with the big propane tank (or natural gas). Expensive to buy, expensive to set up but these outages really have me worried.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No outages in my area. We’re far enough south that we aren’t affected by this. If I was going whole house, I’d go that way. If you have natural gas, that might be easier to maintain and would cover most things except a major earthquake where gas lines might get cut. In that case a local propane tank might be needed.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. jfwknifton says:

    Well said! Over here we still remember fondly the railway chief who told us all that the trains were not running because, even though it was only half an inch or so, it was “the wrong kind of snow” for his engineers to cope with. Leaves too can be equally deadly. We should perhaps give thanks that we don’t suffer the same dreadful weather conditions as there are in California.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    The fires will be terrible. Nature controls. Here too we depend on the rains so much and it is not all in our hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. cindy knoke says:

    Yep. We are beholden to pay power companies for our own demise at their hands.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes, Andrew, nature finds a way to prevail. I am following this story.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Deb Farris says:

    Layered with lessons in learning to love and lead…thank you, Andrew.

    Liked by 2 people

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