It has been a year since Putin sent his army to Ukraine. The Ukrainians have endured great loss of life, their homes have been decimated, and their sense of well-being upended and yet they persevere—so when people call concerned that our power is out, or that it’s pouring down rain, or that the winds are so fierce, I smile and say, We are doing just fine, thank you.

Last night the wind was fierce enough to have the weather service warn of a blizzard in our local Southern California mountains. It ripped three 100-foot trees out of the ground, tossed our BBQ over on its side, and flattened my sister’s fence. All of that before we lost power. God knows what else has befallen our beloved city since we have been out of the loop.

In the 75 years I have lived in LA, I have seen hail about two or three times. It fell three times in the last day and a half. The pea-size pellets left a cold blanket of white on the deck.

The rain has been relentless.  More than 4 inches fell in less than twenty-four hours and that is more than fell the entire year of 2021.

Before the electricity went out, there was news of freeway closures, rockslides, and photos showing that streets we often traverse looked like rivers. A smart man stopped in his tracks when hot wires fell across his car. I know he was smart because he did not try to exit the car but called the fire department who called the electric company.

More than 24 hours went by without electricity for 30,000 Angelenos, us included, with no word of how soon it might get resolved.

We have a gas fireplace, and it has warmed the room to 61 degrees from 58 this morning. Our gas stove has an electric igniter but can be lit manually. We had omelets for breakfast, and I made a large pot of Bolognese sauce for dinner that cooked all day. I figured I could set the leftovers to chill outside. Yes, it is cold enough in Los Angeles to do that!

While it’s colder than usual in Southern California, it’s nothing compared to Minneapolis, Helena or Ukraine. Still, the combination of cold, torrential rain, hail, lightning, and wind have us all in a state of shock. A friend told me she saw a picture of the Hollywood sign covered in snow. We have all been hoping for the rains to come, but we were not expecting this. That being said, we cannot complain.

There are those who are trying to dodge bombs, whose homes are nearly rubble but who live in them still, with no windows and half the building lying crumbled. Temperatures in the 30s with snow on the ground, no electricity, no water, or any semblance of what their comfortable home once was.

Today, the air was clean and the sky clear and we could see forever. The snow on the surrounding mountains will stop your heart with its pristine beauty. We are grateful that by mid-day we had our electricity restored and the house began to warm and we to thaw and strip away the layers of clothes and put away the extra blankets.

We knew this would be short-lived and, in a day or two we would return to our normal routine. May those struggling in Ukraine someday soon be able to return to theirs under a clear sky.

Photo by Sue Robin

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