Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happenings: Snow

If we divide Santa Clarita’s history by events, the last significant snow fell sometime after cityhood but before Buck McKeon entered congress, a time when you had to remark about the weather via landline. It was early 1989, the same year Marsha McLean would begin gathering signatures opposing the Elsmere Canyon landfill and that Claritans would feel a bit of the Loma Prieta earthquake. I was in pre-school.

My mom woke us up before dawn, clutching her camera. I remember a sense of urgency that morning. She was in a great hurry to get us outside to make memories before the snow melted away, but was stalled by her need to add sixth and seventh layers of clothing to protect us from the squall. Luckily, the snow stuck around. Mom took pictures until she had used up the entire roll of film (a rather sensitive, cumbersome analog to contemporary memory cards). We built snowmen. We tried sledding down the driveway. We watched as our grandparents half-drove, half-slid their way down our street in their cream-colored Oldsmobile, a boat of a car.

Today, some 7,998 days later, it snowed again.

This is the same stretch of the south fork of the Santa Clara. The river was roaring on December 22nd, dry and sunny on January 1st, and covered with snow on January 2nd. The young Fremont's Cottonwood has managed to keep some of its yellow leaves through the worst of it.

These photos, full of the signs of spring, were taken in the same stretch of the river wash on New Year's Day: yesterday! They show typical shrubland with Yerba Santa, Scalebroom, and sagebrush; Blue Elderberry breaking bud; and the first blooms of Golden Currant in a thicket on the margins of the wash.

Roots of Sandbar Willow float eerily in the water, their soil scoured away by winter storms. Willows thrive in floodplains, rebounding rapidly after floods, drought, and frost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With the rain tonight, I hope the snow doesn't melt away before morning!!