We'll soon be getting into the rainy season. That is, soon the rainy season will arrive for folks living below The Hill. For us on the High Desert, we'll know when they have rain by the increase in the intensity of our winds. When they get rain we don't get wet. Our trees bow low, the mailman wears a face mask, we duck airborne trash; and the ten foot high billows of dust that usually only follow traffic along the dirt roads reminds us that the interiors of our homes are being prepared for need of an extra thorough cleaning.


When I first moved to the desert my Primary Care Doctor remarked that she was getting new patients because of the housing boom that was going on at the time. Like any business, I'm sure that her bottom line was improving with more consumers. She also commented that since the tract developments there is not as much dust in the air. I think about her observation every time I look at the flat surfaces inside my home. If development helped with lowering the amount of dust in our air, how bad was it before?


Our desert dust is an awesome irritant. It can't be good for us. It scratches our eyes and leaves grit in our mouths. My Doctor didn't mention what breathing the dust does to our lungs or allergies. The microscopic particles permeate the air. They intrude into our living spaces through cracks too small to notice. When there is no air flow to take it away dust filters down gradually obeying the law of gravity. It becomes deposited on anything with an edge, ridge, flat surface, fold, or wrinkle, including my face. When this dust is in the air it's constantly settling in. Should you try to remove it, it would be possible to start cleaning at one end of the house and watch it deposit behind you as you move through the rooms. You can't escape it. It accumulates in drifts.


My air-conditioned house was built to energy efficient standards. So I expected that as long as I kept the windows shut and the doors closed, I would not become a desert dust home invasion victim. No so. My guests will attest that they always find dust drifts here that are ominously reminiscent of the sand dunes near El Centro. I can't get rid of it. I've tried a vacuum cleaner, dry mop, wet mop, broom, dust pan, electric broom, special micro filter cloths and towels and a robot that I can turn on when I'm too exhausted to continue the effort. I've used everything short of the garden hose to try to remove it.


When I was very young, my father took the family for an auto trip adventure on a Corduroy Road near the Mexican boarder. The dunes there were constantly moving because of the ferocity of the winds. The State didn't construct a permanent highway across that part of the desert. Instead it laid down strips of wood fasted together that allowed cars to drive across the dunes on this bumpy temporary road. When the sand covered the portable road, it was simply dug out and replaced to the tops of the newly formed dunes.


I'm not suggesting we move out because of an accumulation of dust in the house; nor am I suggesting that the furniture be set on the top of new drifts. Neither am I convinced that the State solution imposed on LA County requiring them to pave more of their desert roads would help us. It's the wind drafts here caused by rains below that create the major part of our problem. I hope we can be assured that none of our lawmakers would try outlaw rain.


Following the inspiration of the state highway workers that dug out the Corduroy Road from under the sand, I trust I will be able to dig out my furniture and move it to high ground when the inside of my house becomes so deeply embedded with desert dust that I can no longer cross the floor without sinking. I just need to add a surgical mask to my inventory of cleaning equipment.