Monsoon Season Flowers

I was surprised, many years ago, to learn that Colorado had a monsoon season. “Monsoon” always made me think of places like Thailand and Singapore with their afternoon deluges that brought traffic to a standstill, and Colorado seldom gets that sort of rain, which makes “monsoon” seem a strong word for the weak rains we sometimes get in July and August.

Although most people associate “monsoon” with deluges, a monsoon is actually a shift in the wind. In the case of Colorado, that wind shift brings moisture from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico into the state. According to the Colorado Climate Center, the monsoon “usually happens when a strategically centered high pressure (with clockwise flow around it) and low pressure (with counterclockwise flow around it) settle in over the region.”

The erratic and unpredictable nature of this North American monsoon is why the forecasters seem unable to tell us when or where or how much it’s going to rain. There have been days recently when they predicted 10% chance of rain, and we ended up with a steady downpour. Other days they have predicted a 90% chance of rain, and we ended up with nary a drop. And some days the forecast changed so frequently, no one and nothing had any idea what was going to happen, not even the weather itself.

This week, rain or no, we seem to be centered solidly in the monsoon wind pattern. The days are still and dry, but most evenings we have at least a splattering of rain. A couple of nights ago it rained for several hours, the longest rain we’ve had all year. It rained a bit last night, and after a respite of — perhaps — no precipitation tonight, there’s a chance of rain every evening for the rest of the week.

I have learned a couple of things during this monsoon week: 1) the browning of certain areas of my lawn isn’t due to lack of moisture, and 2) this is not a good time of year for hanging baskets. I’ve had to settle those hanging plants firmly on the ground so they don’t take flight in the late-night winds. By the time the winds are gone and I hang up my plants again, it will probably be too late in the season for flowers. Still, plants are nice, wherever they are.

Well, some plants. The rain sure is making the weeds spring up! And it’s making the already sprung-up weeds grow horrendously fast. I’ve cleared out the tallest weeds, though my garden patches have been neglected. Luckily, as you can see, I still managed to find a few flowers to photograph.

Incidentally, all the white flowers pictured are volunteers, planting themselves where they’ve been assured a warm (and wet) welcome.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Touchdown

A touchdown is generally a good thing when it comes to spacecraft and airplanes, though in the case of airplanes, that initial touch can sure get the adrenaline going, especially when the plane bounces and then touches down yet again. A touchdown in football is a good thing for the one making the goal and a not-so-good thing for the opposite team. (At least, that’s my understanding of the game, though a touchdown could mean something else for all I know since my knowledge of football is limited to movies like The Replacements, Necessary Roughness, Rudy, and Radio.)

A touchdown when it comes to weather is something entirely different.

Last night, the tornado sirens sounded as they sometimes do. Normally I don’t worry because the familiar signs of an impending tornado are often absent, especially the eerie green skies. Last night, however, the ambient light was a sickly yellow-green. I waited to hear the screaming winds that often herald a touchdown, but all I could hear was the wind in the trees and the rain pounding against the windows. (Luckily no hail, though some areas around here did get bombarded.)

Since I didn’t want to go down into the basement — I’ve lost whatever talent for stairs I once had and so I was more afraid of falling than I was of the storm — I brushed my teeth. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? But the bathroom, which has no window, is the safest place next to the basement, and I wasn’t scared enough to huddle on the floor of the shower. So I brushed my teeth.

And the storm passed. Well, except for that one thing — a sheriff’s deputy got a video of a tornado touching down right outside of town.

Apparently, the cloud touched down for a few seconds, but there was no damage and no one was hurt.

This morning, I went outside and looked askance at Mother Nature. The crone gave me an innocent look as if to say, “What? Did I do something wrong?” All was still (except for those ubiquitous doves and their incessant call, “What-todo, what-todo.”). The sun shone with a golden light, the skies were bright blue, and the only indication of a storm was the standing water in the gutters where the drainage is especially poor.

Clouds are starting to roll in again, which is to be expected during monsoon season. (Normally, the winds in Colorado come from the west or northwest, but during the summer, they shift and come from the south and southwest and bring moisture and afternoon storms from the gulfs.) We can use the rain since this area is in extreme drought, but please, hold the tornadoes.

Things are bad enough — we don’t need any touchdowns around here.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator