Santa Ana Winds (Day 22)

The wind came in last night; warm and wild, dry, forboding. Growing up in Southern California we called these dry, warm winds the Santa Anas because they came from the desert through the Santa Ana Canyon. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, they are also sometimes called the Santa Anas, even though Santa Ana Canyon is hundreds of miles away. Other times they are referred to as Diablo winds because they come from the direction of Mt. Diablo. 

Whatever we call them, whenever these hot winds bear down on us, most Californians think: fire weather. It’s hard to feel anything but dread when the branches whip dry leaves around on an unseasonably warm day in January. Indeed (alas), as I’m writing this, there is now a wildfire burning in Big Sur and another one has just been reported outside of Nevada City. The Santa Anas fuel the fires as well as exacerbate the conditions for them: the fast, warm winds suck the moisture out of everything (including my skin—a couple of days into the Santa Anas and my whole body transforms into a corn husk). 

At the Albany Bulb, the windy weather translated into a choppy, wild swim. My pink swim buoy slapped me in the face and I swallowed more water than I have in a long time. Usually, these winter months present us with the coldest water temperatures, but the calmest waters—spring and summer are our windiest months. But not today. Today was all wind and salty spray and freezing water. Also, thankfully, bright sunshine and clear skies. 

Mary Kate and Kim joined me for my swim today. Mary Kate donning another fabulous vintage swimsuit (which sadly I failed to capture on camera). 

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