Mid to late summer in the American Southwest can be tumultuous, as the “monsoons” encroach on the land. The word “monsoon” usually conjures images of frequent, heavy downpours over dense greenery in exotic, eastern lands. But, the monsoons in reference here are those of the Southwestern United States and so a different image is required. Our typical summer monsoon spans July and early August and cycles much like this:
Hot & sunny morning. Hotter, and somewhat clouded mid-day. Stupid-hot, windy & cloudy afternoon accompanied by sixteen drops of “rain” which evaporate prior to or upon collision with the earth. Back to hotter & somewhat calm evening. Hot overnight. Repeat for six weeks. This is common of most days during the season. But once in a great while the engorged clouds are caught by a wind with strength enough to force a breach in the barrier of our mountain-surround and pushed into the valley. When this happens, the power of water discharged on parched earth can be an awesome and frightening exhibition. Even so, for most desert dwellers, it’s a welcome and even exciting time. Rain! It’s rarer than gold in these parts.
And so, in that context, with the current monsoon season waning quickly, and “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas lending atmosphere (Seriously, I think I’m gonna recommend mood music for all future posts, à la wine recommendations to complement your meal!), I present part one of two guest posts by Scott Nadeau, of theDarkwaterPress:
Maple Street. Henderson, Nevada.
The house in which my working class family resided during the 1980’s was elevated slightly by a small hill. Across the street were similar looking houses, full of similar looking families, but without the same slope from this hill, these houses were not elevated in such a way. This proved, for my siblings and me, to be quite advantageous once we were old enough to acquire skateboards, bicycles, and other wheeled devices. With a not insignificant amount of courage, we would sit on our skateboards and speedily descend our steeped driveway, making a sharp left turn at the driveways base onto the sidewalk, attempting to develop enough momentum to roll all the way to the end of the block. A few of our more adventurous friends would attempt to wildly place lawn chairs atop their skateboards and descend in a less safe, but definitely more exciting manner. Another advantage this same small hill provided was discovered when a rainstorm would pass through the neighborhood. Our side of the street would gather more runoff and an instant rapid of gutter water would become the source of innumerable games, including races of found objects hastily made into competition speed boats. A storm in the Nevada desert is rare and therefore always a source of welcomed excitement… as well as a certain amount of destructive possibilities…