Thursday, October 27, 2011

Climate and the Southwest Including California

I'm indebted to David Starr Jordan, a former President of Stanford, for his book California and the Californians and to Project Gutenberg where I found it. Mr. Jordan lays out the case for California being part of the Southwest, just read this and you will see what I mean:

"The climate of California is especially kind to childhood and old age."

See, that right there puts California in the Southwest, because the climate of the Southwest is the same. The years in between don't fit into this climate because by the time you take out all the disease, filthy conditions, unwarranted killings and early deaths, there is nothing left but childhood and old age (if a person is lucky). It's smooth sailing from there on out in California and the rest of the Southwest.

Mr. Jordan uses a quote by Bret Harte: "Half a year of clouds and flowers, half a year of dust and sky" to proclaim the virtues of California's climate, but he could have just as well be talking about Arizona, Texas, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota, all in the Southwest according to the way some people see the Southwest. And you have to admit that most of these States, if not all, are full of dust most of the time, even in winter's depth, if not dirt dust, it's snow dust. Just like the Southwest, so the climate of California is exactly similar.

Here is a picture of a California cloud that was blown off course and ended up in Arizona across the border, It looks mighty similar to or maybe exactly like the others in the Southwest. Just to show that they are about the same, this one below drifted from the north, Utah, a part of the Southwest.

A mighty powerful cloud in its own right. Only one problem, from here, I can't tell if it's a raincloud or a dust cloud. The point is that it looks exactly similar to the one above, especially in its fluffiness and contours.

Mr. Jordan continues to write about the weather in California: "But with the dust and the sky, come the unbroken succession of days of sunshine, the dry invigorating air, the scent of the resin of tarweed" (I think he meant mesquite trees and creosote bush) "and the boundless overflow of vine and orchard." (I think he meant wine and grapes, typical of the Southwest). And he goes on and on to say, "If one must choose, in all the fragrant California year the best month is June, for then the air is softest,  and a touch of summer's gold overlies the green of winter." This compares favorably with all of the Southwest, including Arizona where June is the best month of the year, too, since it's the hottest, hot as Hades, where everyone stays indoors just like in North Dakota for the opposite reason, analogous to California. Here is a picture of that blue sky, a very familiar sight in the whole Southwest:

The month of June. Beautiful.

One more point on climate per Mr. Jordan: "The habit of roasting one's self all winter long is unknown in California. The old Californian seldom built a fire for warmth's sake. When he was cold in the house, he went outside to get warm." This is exactly like all of the Southwest, except the people in the Southwest didn't have houses. They had tepees, cabins, huts, cellars, etc., and never built a fire inside to prevent accidental destruction by fire. We had to go outside to get warm and besides, all the gunfights took place outside at high noon, so there was no reason to stay inside.

We can see now that California and the Southwest are geographically and climatologically contiguous, two-thirds of my argument proven.

A comment on this. I don't think Mr. Jordan ever visited Lake Tahoe in Northern California where they receive around a hundred and twenty feet of snow every winter.

 Next up:  A short post on people and freedom in California juxtaposed with the rest of the Southwest, maybe.


  1. Well, that's me convinced.

  2. One vote for, zero against, so far. Thanks, Valance

  3. I hear great things about the climate there. I've only been once and it was good the entire time.