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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Monsoon Madness

This is my rainbow--a double taken this morning after a gullywasher

When I see the word "monsoon" I think of Indonesia or another of the island nations drenched daily with buckets and tons and blankets of water sheeting from the sky. I picture those poor people standing outside their houseboats in the deluge for a shower and gathering water in cans to drink.

Here in the desert it's "monsoon" time again. It's a very different feeling. What used to happen is that every evening almost like clockwork the sky would open up and drench the land in life-giving rain, setting the cacti blooming and the oranges burgeoning. We'd jump in the puddles and follow new streams to their endings in the washes out in the desert. You could pretty much set your watch by it. Five o'clock every evening--downpour.

What actually happens is this:
There is an invisible dome over our house. It lets water in only when there is laundry on the line in a direct ratio to how far from home I am. Otherwise it putzes around sprinkling a little here and a little there, just enough to over-activate the armies of ants in our yard and elsewhere (ants are taking over the world by the way), excite the termites into frenzied activity, and ruin picnics. Now and then there is a hard enough shower to make the misnamed washes run and thus trap you in your house.

I say misnamed because washes are actually long sandboxes which once in a while have water in them...like real sandboxes. Rarely, the wash actually runs like a creek, for which the Stupid Motorist Law is in effect. That law states that if you are stupid enough to drive into the running wash without first checking the depth (I added that last bit. They don't care about the checking.) and your car gets stuck and/or you and/or your car need to be rescued, you incur enough debt to fund a third world country for a year.

Back in 1986 we had a monsoon so monsoon-like that there was actual flooding. We watched as chunks of my in-laws' neighbors' property caved in to the raging river which filled all the potholes, ditches, dips, and yes, washes. We watched logs roll past in the angry, roiling mud water along with things from peoples' yards (swing sets, garbage cans, the unicorns from Noah's flood--okay not those). Underpasses filled nearly to the bottom of the over part.

Something told me that was a last hurrah. Now every year we barely get enough water to feed the starving houseplants. It all seems so underwhelming.

Yes, I'm issuing a challenge. Let it RAIN! I miss the green of Ireland (not that this place will ever be like it is there). And lightning, as long as it doesn't spark a fire. And rainbows. Plenty of rainbows. I want to hear the thunder volleying like cannon fire and the trickling of runnels coming off the roof and into the tins I've arranged along the house to catch water.
End note: I got what I wished for. Last night the heavens broke open and washed most of the topsoil in our yard into the alley. I didn't even have time to empty the water cans before it started in again. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we'll have enough water this year to fill the lakes and streams again.

Anyway, it was good craic, I tell you.

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