Monsoon Season begins on June 15 in Arizona. If you are thinking ‘monsoon’ like the monsoons in India, think again. The Phoenix Valley gets, on average, a hair over 8″ of rain a year. Mumbai, on the other hand, gets a hair under 80″. But when you live in a desert climate, any rain at all is more than welcome. This is especially true this year when we have broken high temperature records more than once and the trees and cactuses are clearly suffering.
Yesterday, after a record-setting 116 F, our first monsoon rains arrived, with the usual exciting crash-boom. Unlike the brief winter rainy season when rain can settle in for half a day, monsoon rains uniformly arrive at the end of the day, and generally don’t last very long. Today we heard the first thunder at 5:45 p.m., and by 6:30 Speedy was standing in our community’s pool with his drink, his snack and his book.
I don’t want to make light of the damage even these brief rains can do: sometimes the rain comes down in torrents. Because the ground is so hard and dry here, the water runs off. During and after a heavy monsoon the run-off can flood low areas of road, and even wash cars away. Last year area golf courses suffered great damage when the rains brought down trees and boulders from the higher ground and deposited them on fairways.
The sky is always dramatic after the rain, especially as the sun sets. The birds are doing what they do at twilight – making a racket, flying home for the night, or, if they are the nighthawks that frequent our neighborhood, swooping and diving as they catch new hatches of insects (they are hard to photograph, for me, anyway).
I watched the doves as they got their last meal of the day, the odd-looking fruit of a nearby saguaro (which will turn quite red and look very silly in the near future). Then they gathered for their evening flight to wherever it is doves go at night.
It was a lovely evening, a fine beginning to Monsoon Season. Bring on the rains!