Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Monsoons

Neighbors say it was the worst storm south of Tucson in seven years. The wash that runs through my property flooded right up into the yard, tore down the front chain link fence and upended all the concrete fence posts. My studio and the Santuario building flooded from the bottom up and all the skylights popped their seals.

Beautiful trees in the front yard are almost completely denuded, the leaves literally scissored in small pieces by quarter size hail that came down solid for a full half hour. The wind was gale force and we thought for sure that the windows would break. The worst thing was the birds. Birds spilled out of the air dazed and I found them dead on the front yard.

The next morning after the storm all the neighbors were out shoveling mud. One of the neighbors remarked that he couldn't imagine how migrants traveling through open desert could have made it through the hail that had pitted his open garage flooring. Another neighbor said he had actually seen 3 separate groups of migrants emerge from the washes that morning. What matter of hell had they endured?! How could they have survived such a storm?

We have had violent thunderstorms every night since and now my dirt road is impassable without four wheel drive and a lot of moxie. Each time it storms, the wash runs again. After the last good rain, when all was quiet and lightning flashed in the West, I sat by the wash in the dark and listened to the voice of the water. What had always been a dry arroyo was suddenly a spectacular river running through the property, 20 ft. across in some spots. The air tasted sweet on my tongue and I let the rippling sound of the water wash over my being for the longest time. Water, always such a miracle in the desert, transmutes from a murderous torrent to the sound of angels in no time at all.

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