“And so with the sunshine and great bursts of leaves growing on the trees
…. I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with summer.”
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
On Sunday, the first full day of summer, a brush fire broke out on the south facing side of Verdugo Mountains. A billow of smoke could be seen, and the effects cast an eerie orange light over the foothills. Fortunately firefighters were on it in no time. Weather conditions were favorable with moderate humidity, no wind and temperatures in the high 80s. And this is only the beginning of summer …
On June 21 we celebrated the summer solstice with our neighborhood’s fifth annual block party. American illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell often drew inspiration from people living in his own neighborhood. Our neighborhood could easily substitute for his model. His subjects were just ordinary people, involved in current events and celebrations. Sitting curbside in midtown La Crescenta, with a sketchbook in hand, Mr. Rockwell would have observed the following:
The day was clear. People cleared the street of its cars. A hodge-podge of chairs and tables were set up as were every shape and size of wading pool. Stacks of squirt guns and towels were available, to be used as needed. The men on the street barbecued hot dogs, hamburgers and corn-on-the-cob, and mixed margaritas (a secret Thomas family recipe). Neighbors contributed even more food. One could very well imagine June Cleaver bringing out a Jello mold or covered casserole dish. Dessert? Ice cream, of course. There was no shortage of children (or dogs) to take part in the food and festivities. With twilight came a sunset then night welcomed the first cricket symphony of the season. A perfect summer evening …
As is often said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Folks have celebrated the solstice for centuries. The most familiar evidence is perhaps Stonehenge, dated at 3,100 BC. Closer to home, many Native American tribes had rituals to honor the sun. The Sioux cut and raised a tree as a visual, symbolizing the connection between the heavens and Earth. Their bodies were adorned with paint – red (sunset), blue (sky), yellow (lightening), white (light) and black (night). In comparison, our humble block party seems rather dull.
Summer began as expected weather-wise. This upcoming weekend and the following days the heat gets turned up to well above normal. Daytime temperatures close to 100 degrees are predicted. Thankfully the nights will remain cool with lows around 65 degrees.
* Addition to last week’s column – Santa Barbara’s 133 degrees on June 13, 1959 held the record for 30 years, until Death Valley reached 134 degrees! Santa Barbara’s temperature stands at third hottest worldwide.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.