Here in the desert, if you look at the sky, every day is pretty much the same; the weather, although cooler at the end of the year, is pretty much unchangeable. If you bet the sky would be blue, you’d win, because blue skies abound.
Except during Monsoon Season. Happy day!
It’s been hotter than Hades in Arizona, and by hot, I mean 112 to 116 degree days. Each morning when I wake, regardless of the dreaded heat, my first responsibility is the morning feeding — of my rescue’s sanctuary dogs, my little terriers, and of course, the horses and donkey.
Saved from slaughter, the equines are especially hungry having known starvation in the past, but when summer rolls around they become less active in the heat. Consequently, I must decrease their rations.
Cloud, my newest equine rescue, has been successfully re-fed and happily sports a big hay belly. It’s to be expected, but as I lessen his rations, he grumbles in the only way he can — with ears pinned, and with head nods toward the tower of Bermuda hay. I explain to him that he can’t eat as much as he does in winter because it’s summer, now. I tell him he even needs to lose a little, and he pins his ears and snakes his neck menacingly, and because he wouldn’t hurt me, moves out of reach of my scratching fingers. Fine, he says. So there.
Each morning, trumpeting at me in greeting, he trots back and forth along the fence-line making soft, nickering sounds. Nuzzling my shoulder with his pink nose, he thanks me before starting to eat. I am the reliable food lady, tossing a flake on time throughout the day, never missing a feeding, always good for a neck scratch and a carrot or a peppermint candy.
Photo by Emily Murdoch
Sometimes I catch Cloudy staring at me, like he can’t believe his luck. Maybe I should give her a tiny nip when she comes by, just to make sure I’m not dreaming. Meanwhile, he gets what all horses deserve — care, food and a home for life.
If only all our problems could be solved with a schedule and a flake of hay.
The monsoon sky, swollen to bursting, lets fly. Cloudy reluctantly abandons his hay, kicking out at the thunder. 116 degrees (as it was this morning at 11 am) is washed away almost instantly, and it’s only 96 degrees an hour later. Clouds, rarely seen since last June, are fat and sassy or pulled in threads like cotton-candy, depending upon the winds.
Before this storm lets up, there will be hail. But, the equines are snug in their shelters, and the dogs are dry and sleeping on comforters from Goodwill. Sitting here typing in the air-conditioned bedroom, my favorite place in the summertime, I’m craving a cup of hot tea and the day off, like an east coast snow day, to read a book in bed while scratching the terriers with my feet and throwing balls that ricochet off the walls.
I just love Monsoon Season. The desert is shined up by the rain, the green everywhere multiplies, and all the animals of every size, domesticated and wild, run and jump and wrestle and play. Summer is officially broken in, as the rains will carry us from June to September, eventually replaced by the cooler clime of a desert winter.
It couldn’t have happened a day too soon. I was tempted to buy a sprinkler, today, and freezer pops, the long ones, where you cut off the end and suck on the blue or red or orange juice. Maybe I will — no one’s watching, right? I’ll dance through the sprinkler with no make-up on, my hair unbrushed and flying, not caring how I look in a bathing suit, and living completely and thoroughly in the moment.
(Who knew a little rain outside, could resurrect the child of summertime?)