Our new dog, Chyla, does not want to walk in the rain. She tried to dodge raindrops in the rains previous to this week's, and I had to hold my umbrella over her before she would pee. Alas, gone were my myth-making imaginings that she was originally from Vancouver Island but got lost while on a road trip to visit Legoland. She thinks rain is weird. The good news is we've had some of the best walks ever in the last few days, even wet at the knees. Ordinarily, I heartily avoid being cold and wet, but it has been a pleasure this week to be out in the cool blustery weather -- though on Tuesday I worried about tree branches and palm fronds that might come flying at us. Between rains, the Baxter stairtop and hilltop views truly are like nothing I have ever seen in their clarity and complexity. As for the views, I hope all of Los Angeles is having this experience: During the rain breaks, you can look up from anywhere -- or broadside at the mountains or down into canyons -- and the shifting cloud formations and changes in light take your breath away.
The frustrating thing has been all the water. Why don't we have better systems for capturing and saving it? Why doesn't the city reward people who save their rainwater in catch basins for reuse (along the lines of xeriscape incentives and recycling/compost programs)? All of the saving of cupfulls of dish water, the guilt, the short showers, and then the deluge. And we nod at the joke.
Meanwhile, the river is looking like a killer. When it rains, the L.A. River is a man-made death trap. Swift muddy water, swirling debris moving as fast in the cement-lined basin a any natural river I have ever seen. It's a spectacle. One of my neighbors (with whom I am not acquainted) complained on a neighborhood list serv about being rousted this week from a river walkway by cops, who demanded his party leave the area, in violation of his right to the pursuit of liberty and happiness. I had mixed feelings about his report. Since anyone who falls in stands a very good chance of drowning and since there's no reason to assume river-watchers are aware of this, especially if they're kids, part of me is glad that there are patrols that are shooing people away. (Does anyone remember the teenage boy who fell in relatively shallow water in February 1992, with rescue efforts at numerous bridges failing? This You Tube video, which shows a successful rescue, can give you an idea of the difficulty in getting people out.) On the other hand, I plan to go down to the river this week (without my daughter) to get a good look, because it's something worth seeing. I expect to come and go as I please.
Photo: View from north Lake Avenue, Pasadena, about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.