One of the unique aspects of living in the Southwest’s desert region is the phenomenon of the 5th Season – the Monsoon.
The Sonoran desert rhythms include a bi-modal summer: May and June are the hot dry summer and July and August the season of storms that bring sudden downpours of rain.
In Threshold, Luna – a young teen of the Tohono O’odham Nation – longs for the sheer relief and joy of the first monsoon rain:
Luna anticipated the cold dollops of summer rain, the torrents of water running in the washes, and the scent of the creosote bushes after the storm. She loved to be inside when the giant cloud beings grumbled and heaved their lightening swords onto the earth.
Desert flora and fauna are adapted to these rhythms. While the giant saguaros look withered from drought, they still have enough energy to push forth headdresses of huge, creamy blossoms. In May and June bats and birds imbibe the sweet nectar, and as they land, saguaro top to saguaro top, pollinate the flowers to make a rose red fruit that ripens in the hot June air and is harvested by animals and people, each spreading the seeds for renewal of the saguaro.
So as the rest of us observe the hot dry temperatures in the Southwestern deserts – which have been in three digit figures – we might also note how heads are turned upward to the clear cerulean sky for those first cumulus clouds, piling upward over the mountain ranges, collecting moisture and electrical energy that will burst over the desert to bring the season’s blessing. Let us all pray for a strong monsoon season for our fellow Americans living in the desert Southwest!
Go here to learn more about the Southwestern Monsoon Season. *Readers from the desert regions, please post your own experiences here with the monsoon season.