Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Dry Monsoon

It has been a strange summer here in Tucson. Or maybe I've been spoiled during my limited habitation here. There's been almost no rain during our monsoon season and everything is parched. Usually by this time the mountains surrounding Tucson are green with vegetation rather than their usual brown. It's soothing to look up at them, even when the temperature is near 100 degrees on a daily basis. But they're still brown this year.
My lemon tree, filled with promise in the yellow-white blossoms that covered it during the spring, now has no fruit and the leaves are yellow and dry even though I've tried to remember to dribble water on it at least once a week. I know I should do it more often, but it's supposed to be monsoon season and hope springs eternal that we'll finally get those soaking rains.
Monsoon rains are always spotty at best, but usually you can count on several times when the water arrives in gallons and lets you turn off the drip irrigation for a few days. Not this year. Even Wednesday, when the weather forecasters swore the monsoon break was over, promising an unheard of 60 percent chance of rain, Tucson got nothing.
I find myself checking weather.com and the NOAA site several times a day, looking for a sign that those longed-for thunderstorms are coming closer. Sometimes they tease us from the south; so far nothing has arrived. Today the chance for rain is—zero percent. For an area that only gets rain during two brief seasons, this is close to disaster. It reminds me of that old Twilight Zone episode where a cosmic calamity has pushed Earth closer to the sun and people are sweltering in the heat. Only this isn't a Twilight Zone episode. This is the reality of living in the desert.
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