Weather in the Foothills

“We have the capacity to receive messages from the stars and the songs of the night winds.”
    – Ruth St. Denis

What could be more soothing than lying in bed at night, listening to the falling rain? Perhaps the melodious sound of wind chimes? Yes, their sound foretold of last weekend’s change in the weather. In the early morning hours on Saturday, the first rains of the New Year dropped .71 inches in the foothills. By afternoon the skies had cleared, making way for a scene to appear at our doorsteps worthy of Norman Rockwell – a Girl Scout selling cookies. Let’s see, one for each family member and one for a much deserving person serving in the military. All the while, the chimes tingled on the porch as more weather was on the way.

As predicted, another storm arrived on Monday adding to this season’s total. The storm had the potential and expectations to deliver quite a bit more than the .63 inches received. So goes our rain season thus far for 2011-12.

Wind chimes in the Crescenta Valley were in full swing as the week progressed, as once again winds came from northeast. These days wind chimes are considered a garden decoration with a touch of symphonic accompaniment adding to their charm. Several can be found in our own yard including my favorite, a hand-tuned aluminum pipe set to the tones of “Amazing Grace.” The actual invention of wind chimes dates back thousands of years. Archaeologists have traced their origins to various locations worldwide to 2000 B.C. The original functions will mostly remain a mystery. We can only surmise.

Many consider a set of chimes to be a piece of art and one of the world’s first musical instruments (a wind instrument?). Over time, its applications evolved. In Indonesia, for instance, the sound of bamboo chimes scared birds from the rice patties. The farmers also incorporated these tones in worship and prayer to ensure their harvest. Bronze and other metals were used in Egypt to make the wind chimes that decorated the temples and palaces. In the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, historians believe wind chimes were used by early weather forecasters, perhaps to ensure sailors a safe voyage and fishermen a good catch.

Meanwhile, the Celts in Europe were hanging chimes in trees to trick enemies as to their whereabouts. Across the world, Chinese adorned Buddhist temples with brass “windbells.”   These early chimes were used to scare away evil spirits while inviting the “good ones” in.
And here in La Crescenta, the presence of Santa Ana winds is being announced outside my window with “Amazing Grace.”
Clear, windy and warm weather is on tap for the weekend with a cooling trend to start the week. Until then, wind gusts reaching 50 mph Saturday with highs in the 80s are possible.      Nights still in the cold 40s.
Hold on to those hats and enjoy the weather!

RAIN TOTALS    2011-12     Season –  6.44 inches
January – 1.34 inches

Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and  Official Skywarn Spotter for the  National Weather Service.
Reach her at

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