If I didn't grow up in Southern California, I may not have picked Jati as the name of Shiva that most resonates with me. Shiva is the underlying vibration of everything but under the name of Jati, he is "The One with Matted Hair." The description of Jati is: His flowing tendrils, matted hair symbolize him as the Lord of wind, Vayu, who is the subtle form of breath all around.
Every fall, sometime shortly after school started, the winds would pick up. Warm and sweet, they'd kiss your cheeks and swirl and swoosh the air in every direction. They made you want to twirl endlessly across the playground, with your arms out. These were the Santa Ana winds. They dove into Los Angeles annually and, annually, my heart would feel a-flutter when they arrived. They possess a mysticism and magic I can't describe, but felt deeply as a child. The wind chimes hanging from the orange tree below my window would clang wildly at the Santa Ana's arrival. I can still picture the knowing smile that would cross my face as I lay in bed dreaming, content to be wrapped in their warm, smooth, breathy touch, like a silky blanket.
Studies show that wind can make people irritable and unrooted. But not me, not with the Santa Anas, anyway. They are warm and rich and more tangible than any wind I've known—unlike the Boston wind whistling down the corridors between buildings, icing my bones throughout college; or the rushing force at the top of a mountain's ridge, battling the windproof face of my crunchy jacket; or even the balmy breeze across the Hawaiian coconut trees, lazy and lilting and quite uninteresting, actually.
The Santa Anas bring butterflies to my stomach the way a ninth grade crush could. They hold an energy that made the world feel a little different for their five-day visit every year. As a teenager, they made me want to drive along the hilltops of Los Angeles, overlooking the city lights, with my windows down and my music up loud, in a tank top so the wind could lick my shoulders. They were freedom. They were the inclination that change was a-coming. They held intrigue and energy and secrets like only a character in a Francesca Lia Block book could.
When I heard those chimes ringing, it was like a long-lost friend had returned and I would be full with bliss and glory that I could hang onto for five. long. days. (their usual stay).
Maybe it was the monotony of year-round honeysuckle and bougainvillea and the never-changing leaves—a dramatic shift in weather which comes sparingly to Los Angeles. But I think it was more.
I think it was Jati, making a grandiose, red-carpet entrance into the Hollywood Hills, stirring curiously around in the air and in my belly, tickling my arm hairs just to remind me they were there.