Los Angeles Spit-Cleaned

It’s been raining for a week now. In Los Angeles this is rare. It’s like an entire winter’s worth of rain in seven days.

I love it.

The L.A river is full, rushing, rumbling underneath the street, cars sloshing through puddles, the bridge drips water. The city is spit-cleaned, every car given a free rinsing. Worms and snails appear on the sidewalk.

The rain gives me a great excuse to stay inside and write, to watch the clouds build up out my loft window.

L.A is blessed with Mediterranean weather with sunshine most of the year. The rain helps keep things in perspective.

Malibu residents had to flee their million-dollar homes because the canyon walls were turning to mud. Giant puddles swamped intersections across the city. Rain makes us feel like humans again — scurrying, drenched, small things running for cover. Not to mention that we need the rain desperately. I put out all my plants on the balcony and they happily drink it in. (They normally get fed with shower water — I put the container in the shower, while it heats up, to conserve water)

Rainwater must taste like heaven to plants.

Also for the first time in days, I left the house to run an errand. I drove east, towards Pasadena, where I saw a rainbow for one brief second.

You can kinda see the rainbow here. But it’s already half gone. Already on its way towards disappearing. Halfway to never being there in the first place. I blinked after taking the flick, and it was gone.

I got out of the car, breathed in the fresh air.

For the first time in a week a patch of blue sky floated over my head.

The sun illuminated the edge of the cloud. The blue was a deep, sublime piece of atmosphere. Palm trees swayed.

Puddles on the cement began to shrink. Small kids peeked their heads out their front doors to have a look. I felt privileged to witness this eternal ritual.

It’s days like today that Neko Case’s ‘In California’ plays in my head, over and over, her effortless serenade on a loop, singing to just me.

Another suicide on the 405
The Black Dahlia she’s smiles and smiles
It’s the same old town that bled her dry
One more starlet one more time
Bound to make it do or die
Talk a walk to Bonnie Brae
Try to wash these dreams away
They try to tell me L.A is beautiful when it rains

I drove by a rock slide in Highland Park. Boulders laying by the side of the road. Like in our own lives, erosion doesn’t happen gradually, but in sudden bursts of upheaval.

In a few days everything will be cleaned up. Residents will be allowed back into the canyons. The sun will return. Lunchers will crowd sidewalk cafes again.

And I’ll be searching for a new excuse to stay inside.


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