It is almost official spring up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and in southern California we are getting some hearty, sustained, weekend rain, the long kind that makes green things go crazy and washes hard down in the north-LA foothills, but buys California some time time, even if in the long run it doesn’t ease our terrifying drought.
Los Angeles is a city built to nestle under some vicious mountains. When it rains, the rain pours down a serious incline into a metropolis, often in the form of otherwordly mudslides. The Control of Nature, master-journalist John McPhee’s book (1989), has a fantastic chapter (“Los Angeles Against the Mountains”) about this. In ecological, geological, and architectural terms, the LA region is fascinatingly complex; pace a dumb but persistent narrative, “SoCal” is not pH-balanced sunshine. Lucky for us a gifted writer got hold of the truth. Maybe you can buy this book. Maybe you can find it some other way that I don’t know about. Who knows, in this modern digital world? I think it’s McPhee’s best. Plus the cover is great.
But we know you guys back East and in the Midwest and in the South are mostly fucking freezing, so the Reader is going to find something hot. Hang on. Have as much tea as you want.
[some times passes; let’s say 10 minutes]
OH SHIT HEY. We found it.
Let your tape rock till your tape pop, y’all.