One of my favorite seasons in the desert is the summer rainy time. I don't mind the heat and the old saying "It's a dry heat" mostly applies. Until the winds change and the moisture flows in from both coasts to the south. Within hours at times the searing dry heat changes--it may feel a bit like a sauna for a short time but the temperatures do drop and clouds, heavy, dense wet clouds roll in to shield the sun.
I'm the first to admit that flash floods can be very dangerous and that lightning when up close and personal is too. But I still love the summer storms.Most of my life I have gloried in watching lightning flash and blaze, preferable at a distance where the thunder is just a muted grumble but even close, it is exhilarating. The sharp bite of ozone in the air seems to energize me and that first wonderful scent of wet creosote and other pungent desert foliage when the raindrops moisten it delights my senses.
A desert thunderstorm is a veritable feast for the senses. You can hear the wind whistle and sometimes howl and the rolling rumble of the thunder, changing to crackles and booms as it gets closer. You can see the clouds, the gray veils of rain, sometimes the swirling dust kicked up by the outflow winds, the flashes and runes etched by the lightning, dazzling your sight for a few moments. You feel the sudden change in temperature as the storm draws near, the sting of wind driver raindrops and the invigorating way the earth and all drinks in the feast of water.
When I lived in the central valley of California I think I missed my summer rains as painfully as I detested the long sunless weeks in midwinter when the dense fog lay over the area and a glimpse of sunshine was a rare treat. There the heat was not quite as strong as in the desert but it went weeks without the relief of a day or even a few hours of rain, clouds and the respite that brings. Although I am a sunshine person and recharge my energies from that life-giving heat and light, it is possible to have too much of a good thing! We moved back to Tucson from north of Sacramento over the Labor Day weekend, and the so-called "monsoon" came late that year so we got a good taste of it. In fact that year the summer rains just about merged with the winter ones and unusual rainfalls resulted in some flooding and other problems but I still reveled in most of it.
During my sojourns in Colorado, there were summer rains too, and sometimes with tornadoes, which I did not find a bit endearing or delightful. In fact the whole phenomenon just seemed different. Coming back to the 'real' southwest last fall meant so much to me. When I came down to New Mexico in August to look at property, I managed to catch a good deal of rain in just two days. I came over the ridge between Carrizozo and Alamogordo at mid afternoon and ran smack into a fierce thunderstorm. There was construction on the stretch of highway and driving was a bit harrowing but the wet desert scent filtering into the car calmed me. Yes! This was what I had been missing.
Now we are here to stay and we've been getting a taste of the seasonal change since the first couple of days of July. I'm listening now to grumbling thunder and bursts of rain blowing on the outflow wind from a storm coming off the mountains north and east of town. It tells me I am back in my spirit's home more clearly than almost any other signal. To again quote from Raymond Carlson, the late and venerable editor of Arizona Highways magazine, "water in a thirsty land" is truly a rare and holy gift from above. I am so thankful to experience it once again.
And ah, my brother just handed me a belated birthday gift, one that I think is brand new off the presses. I'm a long term Santa Fe railroad fan and this is book five in McMillan Publications wonderful series of pictorials on the dear old Santa Fe, Canyon Lands and Super Chiefs. So I have to stop this and settle in a comfy chair to feast my eyes on memories and one of my passions! I am sure I will have more to say on that another time. I know I also owe my readers here the story of Rico and Belle, the next canines to come into my life. Belle is still with me; Rico is not. I will let you meet them soon.
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!