Monday, June 30, 2008

It's the rain before the storm

They say the monsoon rains have begun. Since it's the middle of the desert, we don't have monsoons like India and places, but we do have predictable "fast and furious" downpours, almost daily for several weeks every summer.

A few days ago I was driving around town running errands and nature just let loose. It was one of those "10 inch rains". Ten inches between drops, but if one hits you, you're soaked! These were huge drops of water that came down hard. (The strange thing about rainstorms in the southwestern United States is that it can be pouring in one area and completely dry across the street.) As I drove around, I could see the streets flooding from curbside to curbside. I began to wonder about the wisdom of driving through low areas where there are signs posted, "Do not enter when water is present." Flash floods are a reality here. Rushing water has been known to wash away cars in arroyo intersections after particularly heavy rainfalls. Chasms can develop and topsoil washes away, wrecking havoc on new neighborhoods, especially.

Living in the country is great, but you have to plan your trips to town and get everything done while there. I debated on waiting the storm out and then decided to make a run for it. I took off my suede shoes and ran through the puddled parking lot. Inside the store, I could hear the rains beating down on the roof and the thunder booming all around. I power shopped, grabbing only the things I really needed and checked out. In the short time I was in the store, the rains had subsided considerably, so I left my shoes on, carefully stepping around the shrinking puddles.

Looking at the stormy sky, I wondered how my poor animals were faring. I worried about them. I expected to see muddy, bedraggled, anxious equines when I got home. I had turned them out for the day in the arena because, earlier in the day, it was beautiful. The sky was slightly overcast, but not really threatening. During the summer, I usually put them in the barn to protect them from getting sunburned. They have runs to walk out in, so they can still go outside, if they choose. Luckily, I realized the storm hadn't come this way yet. Awesome! They were running and bucking, and calling to me, but they were dry! I got them in the barn and fed for the evening, just as the first drops came down.

I am always amazed when the rains come. A low area in my arena fills with water, forming a small pond, and the bullfrogs emerge to sing their chorus. Once I even had a salamander on my porch. Where do they come from??

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