This is one of my favorite winter scenes. Some years January has been so cloudy that I've seldom gotten to see the open evening sky, but this year has been thus far so clear that I'm almost expecting to grow jaded. Another (yawn) perfect evening. As much as I enjoy these evenings, I'd enjoy them more if their march through the season were interrupted by the occasional rainstorm. Variety keeps things fresh.
It's a great misfortune that so much of this year's California citrus crop was lost to the recent freeze. Knowing that the price of the surviving oranges will soon rise (and their quality most likely decline), I've bought a few of those that were hastily picked as the arctic air approached. The fruits from this temporary glut have been remarkably tasty, probably due to the excellent growing conditions which prevailed in the weeks preceding the disaster. As good as the flavor of these oranges has been, the thing I've found most delightful about them has been their uncommonly powerful fragrance.
Cutting into them and releasing that remarkable olfactory bonus has invariably reminded me of the oranges we used to buy when I was very young, in the days when the navel variety was grown mostly in that belt of groves running from the San Gabriel Valley eastward to San Bernardino. For this one season, the new growing region of the southern San Joaquin Valley was producing oranges as delightful as those which Los Angeles County routinely produced before its groves were ripped out and the land covered with the suburban housing tracts of the post-war boom. Sometimes those crops were lost to frosts as well, but less frequently than those now grown in the groves which have been developed north of the Tehachapis to replace the paradise
I'm annoyed that Google searches now bring up so many links to content that turns out to be available only for a fee (except for those people who have the right library card.) This evening I've come across a few things I'd like to see, but the only way I could get them without paying some exorbitant sum I can't afford (carefully researched information for the well-heeled and the academically affiliated-- Fox News for We the Rabble) would be if I were to become a student or a faculty member at Cal State Chico. Here's the teasing abstract of something (an article from the Journal of Interdisciplinary History called "Homicide in Los Angeles, 1827-2002") I find interesting:
"An analysis of nearly two centuries of homicide data that stretch back to the Mexican period for the city and county of Los Angeles reveal a long history of violence in the region, one in which the homicide rate has consistently been higher than that of other major cities. Such factors as national culture, regional differences, demographics, economics, and political structure help to account for the persistence of this pattern. Does this traditional tolerance for violence and homicide in Los Angeles signify a local articulation of what is deemed normal, and could long-term efforts be devised to counter it?"
The journal is one of those that is published by MIT. I used to subscribe to a couple of MIT's publications before the prices went way too high for my budget. These days I'm more likely to be getting my information from Wikipedia. I can almost feel my brain cells dying every time I read something there. No, I can almost feel them being murdered! "Virtual Homicide on the Internet, 1998-...."
Rats! Now I've written myself into a bad mood. I guess I'll go back outside and look at the moon again for a while, before some media conglomerate figures out a way to copyright the view of it.