Los Angeles smells like a campfire this morning and the surface of anything sitting still for more than 10 minutes is covered in a fine veil of ash. There is about 3% humidity right now and it feels like I have had a gallon of water before 10 a.m.
None of this is new to me. I grew up in the foothills of Los Angeles. Many a Hallowe'en night was spent trick or treating as my father stood on the roof with a garden hose. In other cities, the leaves turn orange. In our city, the sky becomes pumpkin colored and thick every October.
It starts every year with the Santa Anas. These are the driest of hot winds that come in devouring the moisture from the air, our skin, every living thing. Then, whether by cigarette flung out a window on the side of the 405 or an arsonist or a kid with firecrackers or just a freak occurrence of nature and the sun, a fire erupts. Suddenly 4 or 5 counties are ablaze and we are glued to our TVs watching the pageant of water-dropping helicopters and beautifully formed cyclones of flames whipping around the chaparral.
Not a thing is safe from the embers that float like bitter snowflakes down on cars and homes and businesses across freeways and firelines to touch off another storm.
It is fire season in Los Angeles.
Don't tell me we don't have seasons.