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Rites of Summer
July, 2023 - Issue #222
If you want to know who has ever seen "Midsommar," wear a flower crown for the summer solstice. The people running away are the ones who watched it. I'm not proposing grim pagan rituals for Santa Clarita this summer; far from it. But I think the film was onto something in acknowledging that people get all kinds of weird, primal, frenzied energy in this sunniest season. Even if the chaos can't be contained, at least traditions can help channel it. This is why humanity invented summer camp. As Santa Clarita settles in for a long summer, the familiar rites reappear.

The Hike
Hiking is one of Santa Clarita's mandatory rites of summer. The most traditional way to satisfy the requirement is a trip to Placerita Canyon or Towsley Canyon. The hike ends when you've arrived at a scenic vista worthy of social media or when you see a rattlesnake - whichever comes first. I fulfilled my obligation at Placerita. The creek was flowing even into June. This makes for fun creek crossings beloved by adventurous kids and the family dog. If your kids are timid and your pup is hydrophobic, wait until August.
Elsewhere, too, it was a picturesque early summer. The Santa Clara River flowed for far longer than normal; poppies and mariposa lilies blanketed hillsides; green lingered. It could be a one off, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasted a 90-percent chance of El Nino conditions developing and persisting into winter. Traditionally, El Nino means cooler, wetter weather for Southern California, which could mean back-to-back rainy years in Santa Clarita. Regardless, be sure to get your hikes in this summer. New hiking spots are always popping up, and hikesantaclarita.com details over a dozen options, many from the City of Santa Clarita's open space acquisitions. May your stroll be rattler free, dear hiker.

The Chaos
Summertime chaos may be a tradition, but it can definitely cross the line. This year, there have been multiple incidents in which authorities responded to reports of a terrible crime in progress, only to find it was a lie. In early May, Sheriff's deputies had to investigate a video which promised a shooting and included images of a school. Deputies were dispatched to local schools, but nothing happened. This came a couple months after a fictitious report of students being harmed in a high school bathroom. An immediate response determined the event had not actually happened.
Another May incident involved a call to the Sheriff's Station wherein a man said that he was armed, had taped his mother's mouth shut and had injured her. Armed deputies responded but found no such crime scene at the Canyon Country address in question. The term "swatting" has been used to classify some of these incidents. It's when someone anonymously reports a crime to authorities that will lead to armed officers or a swat team showing up at the address. Those behind the calls may see them as a prank, but they waste resources and put officers and the swatting victims at serious risk.

"IT BEGAN IN 1932 and has happened almost every year since, with just a few hiccups around WWII and our most recent pandemic. The theme for 2023 is 'Celebrating America's Independence the SCV Way: Live, Work, Play.' That's the civic version of one of those 'Live, Laugh, Love' signs."
The Parade
Longtime readers have surely anticipated this, my annual plug for Santa Clarita's Fourth of July Parade. It began in 1932 and has happened almost every year since, with just a few hiccups around WWII and our most recent pandemic. The theme for 2023 is "Celebrating America's Independence the SCV Way: Live, Work, Play." That's the civic version of one of those "Live, Laugh, Love" signs they sell at HomeGoods. Every year, the combination of baking sun, endless parade entries and being stuck for several hours creates a wonderful sense of fever dream sleep paralysis deja vu. Apart from the newer cars, it's even hard to tell what year it is. It's a feeling I live for, a little bit of timelessness in this ever-evolving city.
The parade will run its Main Street/Lyons/Orchard Village circuit beginning at 9am on Tuesday the 4th. If you want some exercise before the long sit, register for the Santa Clarita Running Club Independence Day Classic 5K or 10K up until the day of. And of course, there will be fireworks at Town Center beginning around 9:15 pm. For those who heart our community, the parade is the rite heralding SCV summer, so don't miss it.

This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions and catty comments intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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