They had promised rain.

We were going to be drenched, drowned, and flooded.

The clouds would stay overhead for months, and there would be endless days of mudslides, dark clouds and gray skies.

They had promised rain, clearly, and said it in English, many times; the word was rain, but there was so much of it and they had renamed him El Niño.

For maybe one or two days there was rain and it came down and drenched the garden and it seemed that relief was on its way.

But the heat and the sun, and that blinding light, the kind that throws deep shadows on surfaces, came back.

The hot winds, the cloudless skies, the bees and the mosquitos, the dust and the fires, and the furnace of the car parked in the sun with black seats that burn your ass when you sit down.

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In Hancock Park, last Saturday, the air smelled like smoke, and lungs labored hard to bring in oxygen.

But on curved streets with swept sidewalks and trimmed hedges, homes glowed, in the inferno.

Movie star beauties, these residences, from the 1920s and 30s, photographed like Garbo and Gable, in black and white.

They retained dignity, reserving in elegance, those rights given to the rich, to remain unaffected by external events, to quietly succeed by dint of elitism, and transcend the hot weather through graceful form.





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