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Around 5:00 a.m. today, I was awakened from a too-short sleep to the sound of an explosive rain storm. Having lived (ahem) ‘a long time’ in parts of the U.S. where tornadoes frequent and violent thunderstorms are uber common, this storm sounded eerily familiar. I could hear wicked winds shrieking past, rattling windows and creeping into microscopic cracks in the moldings, causing the blinds to move ever so slightly; leaves and debris bumped against the window panes, and there were other sounds I couldn’t quite identify. I didn’t hear any thunder however. I went to my windows to have a look. Through the darkness, I saw bushes thrashing about wildly and trees bending at alarming angles. As well, I could see what looked like rain and leaves blowing in gusts horizontally, illuminated by the street lamps. I could hear it pelting my windows.

I was wrong about the rain.

But, I didn’t realise that until daybreak.

In all actuality, it was dirt. Realisation dawned a bit slow, due to sleep deprivation and the absence of my first cuppa: heaps of dirt and leaves, flowing along the mighty currents of the Santa Ana winds.

I imagined that perhaps somewhere the dark, hellish caverns of the devil had somehow opened up, letting loose this horrible wind that would soon wreak havoc upon Southern California. Outside on my patio was my newly purchased rubber tree. It was barely holding its own and had to be moved twice to prevent it from being ripped to shreds and shattering its heavy ceramic pot. For one wild moment, I felt like Dorothy just before the tornado swept her to Oz. Later, when I drove along the freeway, I had to hold on to my steering wheel as tightly as I could from the cross winds rocking my car dangerously. The 405 was practically at a standstill, due, I was later informed, to a fallen tree on the freeway.

In my past life, I lived farther south of these Santa Ana winds and experienced only the awful moisture-sucking dryness they bring, together with somewhat strong winds (and severe wildfires.) Never in my life have I seen anything like this.

I would pray for the Devil’s lair to close again, but it looks like the winds are here to stay at least until Thursday. Great big yay.

On the plus side, my insurance agent phoned this morning assuring me that I’m covered for wildfires. 😉