Desert Wind Bending Palms
It was L.A. author Joan Didion who said, “The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”
After spending a weekend in the desert with my brother, I drove back to Los Angeles in a veritable windstorm. The worst of it was in Ontario, where I pulled off the freeway to pump gas and use the bathroom, the rest area at Calimesa being closed.
When the wind blows from the north, it whips through Cajon Pass and pummels the communities adjacent to Interstate 15 with an intensity which at times could be frightening.
So it was for me at the Shell Station off California 60 on Archibald Road. I had difficulty opening the driver-side door: It was as if the wind had nailed it shut. I knew better than to try to wear my cap and end up chasing it to San Diego, but little did I suspect that my eyeglasses were in the process of being yanked off my head and sent swirling into the blowing leaves and dust.
As I got back on the road to the freeway on-ramp, I had difficulty keeping my Subaru in my lane, driving as I did between 18-wheelers.
The worst of the wind was there, but it was also pretty wild at Cabazon, which sits on the low pass connecting San Jacinto Peak with Mount San Gorgonio.
My brother made a point of calling me around noon to see whether I was able to navigate the gusts without mishap. He said that it had gotten equally intense in Palm Desert, where he lived.
J. G. Ballard’s first novel, “The Wind From Nowhere” was pretty exciting and possibly anticipatory to his later works featuring global catastrophes…
I will try to find it. Ballard is a pretty good writer.
I got caught in one of those big winds during one vacation a number of years ago, two or three decades now. Whichever highway I was on was actually actually closed to trucks, campers, etc – high profile vehicles.