Mother Nature

Mother Nature is a tease.

June is our hot month. Temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees although humidity remains low, making the days almost bearable. June also sets up our monsoon. Prevailing winds in Arizona are from the west although California hoards most of the rain so we get very little-maybe that’s why Arizona is a desert. Monsoon reflects a change in winds and ours start with moisture building in northern Mexico and a high weather system parking over the four-corner area where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet. These conditions allow moisture from Mexico to cross the border and dampen our sand. About half of our annual rainfall occurs during a two-month monsoon.

The monsoon historically began after three consecutive days with average humidity exceeding 55 degrees. This could occur from mid-June to mid-July and the average was the fourth to the tenth of July. A few years ago the powers-that-be opted to schedule the monsoon from June 15 through the end of September. I prefer the old method since it is based on something concrete and not an artificial date.

Once the air warms enough, cells, ranging from a few hundred acres to enough to cover the entire valley, begin to form. The bottoms turn dark and soon Mother Nature opens the spillway and rain starts to fall in sheets. Then lightning starts going off in celebration of rain. These tend to be violent storms with an inch of rain in fifteen minutes and the sky turning into a fireworks display.

If the cell is large enough, cold wind will follow the rain and hit the ground at seventy-plus mph. Wind then radiates out from the mid point to rip off roofs and knock down trees and power poles.

So, we had 100+ temps for the first two weeks of June. Friday (the 14th) a few little puffy clouds built over the mountains. Saturday (the official beginning of monsoon season) was cloudy all day and we had a little moisture hit the ground. By Arizona standards our house had a six-inch rain (that’s one drop every six inches) although some areas of town had a quarter-inch of rain accumulating in swimming pools and bird feeders.

Sunday was a little cloudy and Monday was absolutely clear. The forecast is for warming and drying for the next week.

Mother Nature was only teasing to raise our hopes.

Here’s a monsoon story I wrote.

First kiss

Jeremy and Melinda sat shoulder-to-shoulder at the edge of the pool with their feet swirling the water into little eddies. It was a typical Fourth of July in Tucson: hot and sticky with a temperature of 104 and humidity of around fifty percent, heralding the start of the monsoon. A few small clouds had formed over the valley but none had begun the transformation from pretty marshmallow cloud to ominous rain cloud to indicate pending rain. The air was full of the rumble of far-off thunder although none of it was near them. But to the west, where the house blocked the view, a large cloud had formed and turned black with a wide stream of rain just leaving the cloud.

Melinda’s parents had hosted an annual Independence Day party for each of the past twelve years. The yard was decorated in red, white, and blue. Burgers and hot dogs had been consumed along with copious amounts of beer, wine, and sodas. The sun had dipped below the Tucson Mountains twenty minutes earlier and the sky was ablaze with color. Everyone was waiting for full dark and the display of fireworks above A Mountain.

Jeremy and Melinda were the oldest of the twelve kids at the party. They had known each other all of their lives since their mothers had been, and remained, best friends since grade school. It was at last year’s Christmas get-together that hormones kicked in and the two fourteen-year-olds realized the other was cute.

Melinda gracefully stood and gazed at Jeremy with that look that females of the species give favored males. He scrambled and stumbled to his feet as she walked to the side of the house where a small patio was partially hidden from the pool area. Jeremy followed.

The temperature had dropped ten degrees with sunset. Creosote bushes were emitting their wonderful aroma that announced the near arrival of rain. Cicadas were making their mating calls. All in all, a wonderful night for romance.

She sat in one of the chairs around the small table. Jeremy pulled a second chair around so the arm was touching her chair and sat down. They gazed into each other’s eyes. His hand found hers on the arm of the chair. Not a word was spoken. They leaned toward each other until their shoulders touched and leaned their heads more until their faces were an inch apart. Melinda’s lips parted and her face had a look of anticipation. Jeremy leaned more until their lips touched. His tongue shyly touched her lips and then past her lips to seek out her tongue. The kiss was well into the fourth minute.

The cloud behind them sent a stroke of lightning into a nearby Mesquite tree. At such close range the clap of thunder sounded like a bomb blast. They both jerked forward and bumped foreheads and gnashed teeth.

Flushed with the intensity of the moment they both whispered, nearly in unison, “Wow, what a kiss!”


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