Monday, June 18, 2007
Light, heat, sun, bright
Yesterday morning I got up with the sun as usual, between 5:15 and 5:30, sleeping with only a sheet over me. It's that time of year. Sheet weather, lizard and sandal weather. Don't leave home without your water weather. Take your hat with you weather. No need for a reminder in this kind of weather. In summer, hat & water are my fifth and sixth appendages.
Now I find more lizard tails and feathers in my house, but I don't like finding dead gekkos. Gekkos seem rarer and more vulnerable than the lizards, maybe because of their tanslucent pink skin. I praise Jesse for her hunting skill, but not with gekkos. With gekkos she gets only a stare from me. Then I repeat her name three times: "Jesse-Jesse-Jesse" like my mother did when I got into mischief as a child ("Nicole-Nicole-Nicole"), but I always laughed and smiled when my mom said that--and went on my merry way. I think Jesse does the same, she knows that I love her even though she hunts gekkos. She's just being her perfectly wonderful cat self.
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In my neighborhood, we began berm forming for the trees and plants that we will plant on the street in front of my house. The ground is extremely hard to dig. Yesterday morning, we worked from 7am to 9am (too hot after that) and removed many large rocks of pure kaliche, like cement. The way the berms are formed will allow the natural rains (the monsoons--when they come) to water all the trees and plants without runoff to the street.
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Summers in Tucson are like winters in the Arctic. If you like the snow, you enjoy being out in it for short periods of time, longer than that is too much to endure. Same in Tucson, the Sonoran Desert Bioregion. Those who cannot stand the heat leave. The rest of us... well, we take our cues from the animals. We find strips of shade when out walking in daylight, take siestas as much as possible, drink lots of water, always wear a hat, and enjoy the early mornings and anytime after the sun goes down. I love summertime. It's fun to talk about the heat even when it is so obvious; my friends and I always talk about the heat and about how dry it is. We commiserate about how cold the public buildings are kept in summer, like the University libraries and any large grocery store, which means you freeze inside unless you bring along a sweater or long sleeve shirt.
Last Friday, I went up to Mt. Lemmon with some friends and we talked about the heat and water and napping the whole way up. What else is there in Tucson to talk about in summer? Everything slows down, tens of thousands of snowbirds and most of the 37,000 UA students have left, and those of us who stay enjoy less traffic on the streets and a less crowded Downtown-UA-Arts District-4th Av area. I love bicycling around with less traffic.
Last week over tea with a friend at Seven Cups, we both mentioned that summer is our favorite time here for all the reasons I mentioned: slower, less people, we like the heat, napping, hats. Tucsonans' summer greetings commonly have some weather talk built into it, it's just what you do when you live in such an extreme climate. And now that we're into 100 plus degree temperatures everyday (37.77ºC plus), I've been hearing more of the "M" word in conversations. For example, "...when the monsoons come" or "I can't wait 'til the monsoons come", "Ahhh, it'll be good when the monsoons are here", etc.
Yes, the monsoons...but, I can wait. We haven't had that wonderful build up of intense dry heat yet, day after day after day of 102, 104, 109 degree heat, blue blue skies, and no clouds in sight. The cactus haven't puckered yet, I haven't walked in enough shade strips yet or felt enough of the relief difference makes once outside in the sunshine after being inside an overly air-conditioned building. The saguaros still need more sunshine for the coronas to bloom. The monsoons will come as the saguaro fruit ripens.
I love the heat and I'm glad so many people leave Tucson in the summer for their green grassy humid watery worlds (and I love green grassy watery worlds in a green grassy watery world environment--just not here in the desert).
We're happily thriving here.
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My sunflowers seem to be taking the heat well, too. I water them morning and evening, or else they'd be brown and shriveled by now.
In between napping, bicycling in the heat, and enjoying potfuls of tea at Seven Cups, I drink cool bubbly mineral water with lime. Agua gaseosa con lima.
A cool afternoon meal.
Sheets dry in 5-10 minutes.