Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July in Tucson

There's a bunny in my courtyard. He's nibbling the leaves of the moorea lily. He's kind of scruffy looking; his ears have notches in them. Has someone been nibbling on them?

The monsoon has arrived. We don't say "monsoon season" because it's redundant - the monsoon is the season in which most of our rain falls. The monsoon start date is determined when the average daily dewpoint is 54 degrees or greater, according to NOAA. That is, it was up until 2008 when The National Weather Service decided that it would start, every year, despite the weather or the rainfall or the dewpoint, on June 15th. These people must be related to the fools who decided that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both born on the 3rd Monday in February, thus depriving generations of school children the pleasure of having two 4-day weeks happening two weeks apart.

A bobcat just strolled by. Happily, he was outside the gate to the courtyard.

Anyhow, back to the monsoon. It's bright and sunny most mornings and early afternoons here in the desert Southwest. But along around 3 o'clock things start to change. The weather begins to come from the east and the south. It swirls around the top of Mt. Lemmon (the southernmost ski area in the USofA) and sometimes the clouds get stuck for a few hours. Eventually, the winds pick up and the thunder and lightning begin. Lots and lots of lightning, going diagonally and horizontally and touching the ground and each bolt appears oblivious to those occurring at the same time in the same quadrant of the sky. You can watch the clouds crash into one another and see them make thunder. Very very cool. Sitting under the ramada, watching the gods argue.

Sometimes, it even rains. You can see the storms falling out of the blackest clouds onto neighborhoods nearby. Last night it rained on G'ma's Old Folks Home but not here, a scant 2 miles north. And my crepe myrtles are wilting. I ran a hose to each one this morning and let them soak for 3 hours. That was long enough to get to a depth of ~15" and they're repaying my efforts by standing up straighter and turning their leaves to the sky. It looks much better this way.

The rains are unlike Marin rains, or Long Island rains, or Chicago rains. Imagine a fire hose with enough power to reach a 9th story window. Now, lay that hose on the top of my roof and stand back. There are 2 feet of rip rap under each of the downspouts; without that protection the force of the rainwater would carve a hole half way to China. This year I'm creating a rudimentary rainwater collection system. I inserted a faucet near the bottom of one side of an old garbage can which I have placed under a downspout in the backyard. Once it's collected some water, I'll wheel it over to the trees and open the valve ever-so-slightly so that it can drizzle its contents onto the parched earth. (I AM the Recycling Queen!)

The sun is peeking through the clouds, turning the mountains white and the palo verde tops yellow. There's bright blue sky behind the clouds, and a rainbow just appeared over Summerhaven.

Now, if it would only rain...............

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