One of Southern Arizona’s several seasons is fading away. Our Sky Island mountain ranges are now pasted against cobalt skies, with just a few puffy fair-weather clouds gathered over their summits, there to remind us of the violent thunderstorms of the past two months.
The monsoon left behind something else too, a brilliant carpet of jade overlaying the red/brown hue of the spring and autumn. I never imagined I would see the heavenly blue of morning glory blossoms strung on vines woven among the prickly pear, saguaro and ocotillo, until we spent our first monsoon season and hiked through waist high grass where there had been dry stubble through the annual wildflower season.
The red origami folds of saguaro fruit, ripened open and rapaciously consumed by desert flying critters, then dried into brilliant red “second blossoms” of the giant cactus through the beginning of the spectacular, and regular storms.
A second cactus bloom adds a blaze of red to the pastel of the monsoon annuals. Now, the air crackles with dryness again, the nights cool and the days too. The sun rules now, clouds insubstantial waifs losing the battle; the change of prevailing winds pushing tropical moisture away.
In a few months, another change will bring moisture scudding in from the Pacific, whatever small amounts not dumped on Washington, Oregon or California.