Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Prescott PMS Blues

The tease begins. First there is a wee puff above the ridges -- like yesterday. Nothing worth noting except that it is.

Now, today, the weather gods are making it look a lot better. Hah. This is the time that should be called mountain PMS. Short for Pre-Monsoon Swelter. Or maybe, considering the nasty fire up north of here, Pre- Monsoon Stress -- counting the days before the rains come, hoping that we won't see any flames in the meantime.

I always thought that clouds -- especially storm clouds -- came from somewhere. Until Prescott. Here in the summer, I will watch the clouds build up over the mountains until it finally is time to break loose and rain.

Curious -- when I was a child in Arizona, nobody -- but nobody -- talked about monsoons. Monsoons happened in India and W. Somerset Maugham wrote novels about them and Hollywood made movies with Tyrone Power in a white headdress and Maria Ouspenskya with a pearl in her nose! Maybe it rained more in the late summer in Arizona, but that was about it. (I do recall how wonderful the desert smelled after one of those summer rains.)

Today, what with the Weather Channel and satellites, we are sophisticates. We know all about the shift in wind direction and weather patterns galore. I make a note of the low sitting over the Colorado River and the high settling in over 4-Corners and know that the rains are due any day. I check to see if the rains are happening yet in New Mexico -- they seem to precede ours by a couple of weeks.

And yet there is other, more folkish weather lore. For instance, the official local prediction is to expect a chintzy Monsoon season, with a minimum of moisture. However -- I have a brother in Perth Australia, at the End of the World. It's winter there, the rainy season, just like California. My experience has been that when Bill gets good winter rains, we have light Monsoon rains. And vicey-versa. Last night, he called. Their winter is dry, thus far. So maybe, just maybe...

Now, my friend Linda, an old-timer locally, cites the old wives' wisdom to warn that if the Monsoon comes early, then it is destined to be short and sweet. (No, I don't know just when "early" know how old wives are.)

In the meantime, we wait, it gets hotter and the clouds build up a little bit more each day, the lightning and the thunder begin, and finally we get those wonderful big plops of water. We earn them by suffering through PMS.

If you have a better S than "swelter" or "stress", do let me know!

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