Sunday, July 10, 2011

Arizona in July

Summer in Arizona is harsh, yet starkly beautiful.  Not too many people visit in the summer, but during the last month most of the world has seen some of our summer phenomena.  Forest fires of epic proportions, triple digits every day during July and this week, a haboub.  What's a haboub?  It's pronounced "ha-boob" and it's a sand storm.  If you want to see lots of video, you can easily find it on YouTube, but these are pictures from my backyard:

To the east - the bank of rolling sand


To the south - see the lighter swirling sand


To the west - extending nearly 60 miles

The haboub looked like a large, slow moving cloud that rolled over us in a blanket of dust and turned dusk to pitch black in less than five minutes.  I've seen these sand storms before, but never like this.  We now have a layer of dust on everything outside.  This is "monsoon season," when Arizona experiences weather just by the addition of a little more humidity.  Little changes make for big events in Arizona.

Even though the world now thinks it has seen summer in Arizona, there's still so much they are missing:  monsoon storms that suddenly spring up from the east in towering thunderheads at dusk;  the smell of rain in the form of creosote on the desert floor; or a shade of green you can't find in places where it rains more than 8 inches a year.  My kids were born in Arizona and will stop whatever they are doing to run out and watch the rain.  We sat outside tonight in the hot blowing wind, waiting for the rain and marveling at the fireworks display in the lightning.  Tomorrow after the rain we'll awake to purple Texas sage and the most alluring flowers on inhospitable plants with needles and thorns.  

Yes, monsoon season (when the "dry heat" isn't so dry) can be brutal to endure, but for someone who is deeply in love with the desert, it's just another example of the enigmatic beauty of the southwest.


cindy