Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I hiked in the rain today.

Here in the desert we cherish days like this.

This year was particularly dry. 6.06" may not seem like very many inches for normal rainfall to date, but since our actual rainfall to date has been a mere 2.86 " you can see why Paul Newman bi-cycling Katherine Ross on his handlebars while singing about raindrops falling on his head is not as ridiculous as it might seem.

The rain felt wonderful. We all had appropriate attire, some more absurd than others. Our fearless leader was ensconced in the world's droopiest maroon poncho after her jacket's water-proofing-spray-on-goo had repelled its last raindrop .... we watched, fascinated, as the water was sucked into the fabric at an alarming rate. And we smiled. Especially as she picked up her frock/tunic/toga/sailcloth to trip lightly over the very very rocky but totally walkable trail.

It really wasn't her fault that we missed the trail head she'd intended to take and it didn't really matter anyway. We got to blaze our own trail (they call it bushwhacking here in the desert) and pause

to admire the rocks

and the lichen

and the moss

and the cacti

We sang carols on the way back to the cars.

I'm lighting Chanukah candles and wrapping Christmas presents and it was warm enough for me to entice G'ma to sit on the super comfy sofas in the backyard of the pod-castle. We settled our old and achy bones deeper into the cushions and watched the clouds sit still on the flat blue sky.

It's not the kind of Christmas that requires mittens and mufflers, though we did hike with a couple of layers beneath our rain-gear. But it's a very authentic Christmas, in a latitude-inal kind of a way. Tucson at 32° 7' N and Bethlehem at 31° 42' N pretty much share a climate.

We even have Christmas Cholla.

We also have atmospheric conditions that make the fact that there was no room at the inn 2010 years ago an issue. Not only was there the come and be counted piece, there was the weather. Sleeping under the stars isn't really an option when it's pouring rain and your pregnant wife has been riding an ass for a lot longer than any woman in her state should ever have to ride upon an ass, no matter who she's carrying under her heart.

Jesus lived like this. It truly is a winter wonderland.

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