So a few weeks ago we had THE STORM OF THE CENTURY. And by “Storm of the Century” I mean that Los Angeles got a grand total of over 2.7 inches in about 48 hours. I know. Catastrophic, right? Local news stations were on ‘storm watch’, and forecasters warned of devastating rains the likes of which Southern California had not seen since March of 2011. Sandbags were being stacked, loins were being girded. LA was preparing for a hurricane; battering down the hatches. Of course those of us who are not SoCal natives (myself included) spent a fair amount of time mocking all of this preparation while secretly hoping for a massive whopping storm. I for one was ready for some high wind, driving rain, and light flooding (nothing too serious, I’m not really a sadist). Unfortunately, my wishes didn’t quite come true. We lost power BEFORE the rain started but it came on soon after, roads didn’t really flood and the traffic on the 405 was its usual craptastic self (thanks spellcheck, I’m aware that ‘craptastic’ is not a word). The closest I got to my wishful downpour was a rather large body of water in the parking lot at work due to a clogged storm drain. Poor Little C was trapped inside all weekend, watching the rain and asking “I go outside now Mommy?”, so when the rain cleared on Sunday we bundled up and headed outside to explore what the rains had brought. Little C picked out her purple beanie, five-sizes-too-big pink gloves and purple owl boots, but remained adamant that her pant legs remain rolled up. There is no arguing with a two year old., and clearly weather and temperature have no bearing on fashion…. so we headed out and walked around the grounds of our complex investigating the freshly soaked dirt and calling for squirrels. Everything was so clean-the air crisp and light. Hummingbirds zoomed about the bottlebrush trees, celebrating the return of the sun. Water droplets still sat quivering on petals and gathered in tiny pools on piles of soaked leaves; blossoms that I didn’t recall seeing in the days before the rain were bright pops of welcomed color against the greenery.
We are blessed to live in an oasis of sorts, it almost feels sometimes like we are not in the middle of a huge city until the wail of sirens or the hum of traffic breaks the serenity. But the truth is that I still miss nature-sometimes the manicured lawns and palm trees and pidgeons just don’t cut it. I remember being a little girl and trekking through our apple orchard with my sidekick/dog Max, my bright red rain boots wet and shiny, covered in grasses and caked with mud. My socks inside would always somehow be soaked as well, and I relished the sound of the water squishing through my socks and sloshing in my boots. I would hunt for tiny green tree frogs, throw rocks and chunks of clay-rich dirt into the burbling streams that flowed out of gopher holes in the hills. After the rain, the earth smelled of life and promise and everything was greener, quieter. After the rain, the flowers poked their hesitant faces towards the sun once again, welcoming the light. I want Little C to have a chance to explore the earth like I did, to know what an orchard smells like after it rains, to watch foxes running through thick grasses and deer stalking through the fields. I want her to be able to roll in fields of mustard flowers like I did, to pick sour grass and miner’s lettuce, to catch lizards and butterflies. I love parts of Los Angeles, this city is my home and a part of me. But when I think about my childhood, it smells of rain and exploration and freedom, and I want Little C to have that. To know that. But for now, we will settle for magenta rhododendrons, bright green moss, and the occasional well-fed squirrel.