Benedict Cyn. Rd. Grapefruit, originally uploaded by Here in Van Nuys.

Days of clouds, rain and chilly winds; the last few months in Los Angeles rendered this externally driven city of outward brightness and sunny exuberance into a reserved and subjective place where thought and contemplation drifted, like a cool fog, into the mountains and valleys….and mind.

We, formerly tanned, t-shirted and flip-flopped; opened up old plastic containers under our beds and in our closets and dug up thermal shirts, wool sweaters, down jackets and knit caps.

We drank dark malty beers; ate beef stew and consumed glasses of red wine.  We ran from our cars into our houses and curled up on the couch under layers of wool. We felt like we were back in Chicago, on winter break, imagining icy sidewalks and slush filled gutters under the El train.

Sundays on the beach, playing volleyball or biking, swimming or running….. Replaced now by gloved and hatted hikers, and fireside Christmas parties under rain-soaked skies.

The snow came to Stevenson Ranch and even Palm Springs shivered. There was lethargy in our limbs. We caught colds. We lay in bed under an electric blanket. And drank hot tea.

There must have been some compensation by nature or God to account for our inclement weather. Maybe that higher authority, HE who sends the rains across the planet, HE decided to wash the City of Angels in something baptismal and cleansing.

We needed to save money, on water and air-conditioning, and we now have no reason to turn on our outdoor sprinklers. We are devoted to our lawns, but by our prayers they now are damp and fertile.

But mostly we needed the clouds and rains to contemplate, so much, because we have lived in stress and excess, in violence and rhetoric, in bankruptcy and foreclosure, in a strange land of exaggeration and drama, both online and offline, personal and political, where events have spiraled out of control.

Cloudy days and rain, cool weather and bracing winds, these are some of the tranquilizers that spill out of the sky, cooling our burned nerves and returning us to some semblance of spiritual and emotional balance.

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