Sunday, June 17, 2012

A speck of gold in the edge of our pan

Dear First Day of Monsoon,

The locals call it the day of the first monsoon. I am reminded of the fragile watering holes we have visited and take solace in their being revived and refreshed. The last months have been nothing short of very hot and dry, and so, when the rains came they were even more welcomed. We had little warning that today would be the day Tucson would leave the clutches of the oppressive dry heat. My favorite swimming holes have been waiting for months now too – evaporating and desiccating as the muck grows on their shores. In the morning the desert and it's inhabits were giddy with the sight of the cumulus nimbus.

The clouds grew high in the sky and then darkened. We saw it coming, but were still caught in the streets as the massive drops fell and sizzled on the concrete. Months of dust and heat were immediately washed from the city. Shop keepers and bar tenders left their posts to stand in the doorway to smell and feel the temperature drop. Lighting was all around, thunderously loud, and movie-like in it's intensity. The winds came and pruned the palms and streets turned into rivers.

The rain didn't stop abruptly as it came. It lingered on, clouds shrouding the city's mountainous backdrop. The cacti greened and expanded, the dusty trails darkened and compacted, and rivulets became rivers. The water that fell onto the landscape collected itself, it amassed as water has always done upon the land – trickles meeting with other trickles, those trickles finding yet another, then that creek continuing along dry arroyos until meeting yet another, and soon enough the wash was full and raging.

I knew where they water was going. I have been to these places, these hidden places, where water has gathered and stood strong against the desert heat. Deep in granite canyons, lined with impervious rock, and protected by shadows, there are pools that persist. These places are simple but special, they are infrequent and alone. When we find them we are miners with finally a speck of gold in the edge of our pan. Eureka!

Today these places, beat down by the constant desert sun, and gasping not for air but for water, have been rejuvenated.  

Photos: 1) Araviapa Creek, 2)secret Galiuro waterfall, 3)Deejay Birch getting air into a hidden pool deep in the Blue Mountains