Thursday, July 27, 2017

Why I love Monsoons


A rumble in the distance, black clouds rolling in, the smell of rain in the air.  Yep- it’s Monsoon Season in Arizona, what has become my favorite time of year.
It may be old hat to most of you, but where I grew up we didn’t get monsoons. As a matter of fact, growing up in northern California in the 70’s we didn’t even get rain. I remember when I was in elementary school we didn’t get a single drop for almost two years. The folks that keep track of such things list 1976-77 as one of the driest seasons in CA history. The state was put under mandatory water rationing.
No washing cars (Dad didn’t really care, our ’66 Plymouth wagon was pretty much held together by dust and grease), no watering lawns (what? you think someone who drives a 10 year old wagon held together with dirt wants to mow a lawn?), and the topper: put a brick in your toilet tank to save water (mom refused to let us just pee in the yard so I blame her for global warming and the disappearing polar ice caps).
So in 2004 when we packed up and made the trip to AZ, image my surprise when I got stuck in a torrential downpour. See, I was movin’ to the desert. Sunshine 365 days a year, winter baseball, cactus’s…cactuses…cacti…lots of pointy plants and year round heat.
So having bought a house sight unseen on the innerweb (that’s a whole nother story, check back later), I packed up a 26 foot rental truck and headed east to the Grand Canyon State.
Traveling alone, the wife was coming out a few days later after I got everything unpacked (some of it’s still in boxes) I hit the road for what was supposed to be a 12 hour drive. And that’s when it hit. Somewhere between Needles and Kingman I ran into weather that would have had Noah running for higher ground. I slipped and slided as long as I could until I found shore in a combo gas station-strip club to gas and caffeine up (no…I only went into the ‘Gas Station’ side, again, story for another day).  Happy that the big metal box I was sitting in didn’t get zapped by lightning, I headed through the last leg to my final destination of Prescott, AZ.
At sunup I called my brother, a recent CA-to-Prescott transplant, to find out how much longer to his front door, and more importantly, his couch, and he asked “Where are you?”
I don’t know, I’m driving past some lake right now.
“Lake? Oh, you must be really close, already past the airport? We’re just a little farther up Willow Creek Rd.”
Airport? Willow Creek? I haven’t seen an airport, and the only roads I’ve passed have been dirt roads. I’m still on that highway 89.
“But you’re near the lake. The only lake you could have seen is the Willow Cree Res. Where are you?”
A little back and forth arguing later, I come up to the airport, he directs me to his place and yes, I pass Willow Creek Reservoir. When I plop down on his couch he asks “So, what ‘lake’ did you see?”
I don’t know, some lake just before that other town, Chino Valley.
“You’re nuts. There’s no lake between the 40 and here. You must be really, really tired.”
So the next day, we drive out to the yet unseen recently bought home in Paulden, and sure enough, I show him the lake I passed. Or as most people call it, that empty field next to Big Chino Rd.
“Huh. That wasn’t there Saturday” was my brother’s response.
So why do I love Monsoon’s? What’s not to love about something that can make a lake magically appear in the desert, prove my brother a liar, and keep me from putting a brick in my toilet?

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