Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Gentle Side of the Monsoon

The storms have come fairly regularly this week. With all the water the green is creeping up the mountainside. Around me the desert looks lush as the ocatillo have put on their coats of green leaves once again. These desert cacti look like a spiny, inverted, jellyfish with rigor mortis . The "branches" are quite long with thick thorns. In spring when I first arrived the branches were covered in tiny green leaves, the ends blossoming with fiery orange flowers that looked like candles. I learned that when water is scarce the plants drop their leaves in order to survive in this dry climate. Once the rain returns, so do the leaves. Sure enough, by June the ocatillo were no more than brown and gray sticks in the desert. However, now that the rains have returned so has their foliage. Once again the desert looks lush with the green ocatillo branches. The individual branches look deceptively fuzzy, but to grab one would convince you to never do that again!

In just this past week the pale green bushes called Texas Ranger have exploded with purple and lavender blooms. Many people let them grow in their natural state, a low spiky bush that fans out like a star, but I have seen many in town or on people's lawns that are clipped and cropped into unnatural balls or squares. I prefer the natural shape myself.

On Tuesday a storm rolled through with crashes of thunder and flashes of lightening. It rained hard for a few minutes, but then tapered off to a gentle rain. The temperature dropped nicely, leaving the air fresh with a gentle breeze blowing in from the desert. I threw the windows wide and curled up on my chaise to read a book. The gentle patter of rain filled the rest of my afternoon. It didn't stop until evening.

The next night the rain held off almost until sunset. In the east a sheet of rain fell over Vail as the setting sun's light was refracted into a rainbow. Clouds in the foreground changed from gray to smokey pink and back to gray again. Along the eastern horizon beyond the storm the sky was a particular shade of grayish blue that's hard to describe but very beautiful. Across the wash a buff stucco house stood out in stark contrast to the sky.

We fell asleep last night to the gentle sounds of rain. We left the air conditioning off so we could leave the windows open to the sound with the cool fresh air wafting in. I was awakened after midnight by the heat and humidity. The rain had stopped; the storms had passed. I shut the windows, returning the house to its air conditioned state.

This morning the finches are bathing in the puddles from last night's storms. Outside the fences are covered with their raspberry colored droppings, evidence of the prickly pear fruit they have devoured. When the rain comes it washes the fences clean, but it doesn't take long for them to get covered again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You need to write a book. I was just getting in the mood. What a tease...LOL!

Great use of adjectives and hues.