Hypothermia and the Almond Tree

Long Beach, CA — Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sunday’s winds brought mid-day rain, but yesterday around 12:30 p.m., the sunlight was bright, and the temperature got up to 58 degrees in Long Beach, California. I walked out to the front yard, and took three photographs of the almond tree that somehow managed to survive five years of drought, despite our extended absence sometimes during very punishing heat waves.

The appearance of these blossoms belies the mythic aura that echoes from popular songs about L.A.: “I’d be safe and warm / If I were in L.A.” (“California Dreamin'”). The reality, according to a recent L.A. Times article is that more homeless people suffer from hypothermia in Los Angeles than in New York or other cold-weather cities. In fact, they don’t merely freeze their butts off. They die. Last night, the temperature in Long Beach dropped to 41 degrees, which is not freezing as such, but the problem is that hypothermia tends to set in when the temperature shift in the course of a day involves a drop of more than 10 degrees.

There are 39,000 homeless people in L.A. County. That is roughly one out of every 250 people. THIS is a national emergency. We don’t need a border wall when there are so many people who need four walls and a roof and floor to shelter them from bone-chilling winter weather.


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Almond Tree Three

Almond Tree Two

Almond Tree One

An Indian Plum tree, which squirrels used to scamper across our roof to get to when it was full of ripe fruit, did not survive, and we had to cut down its insect-infested trunk last year. Linda had managed to coax an avocado pit into getting big enough that we planted it at the same place where the Indian Plum had been, and it is now as high as my solar plexus.

Avacado Tree - Chest High

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