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THE DESERT SOUNDS LIKE RAIN






























 

Gung Hei Fat Choy.

It has been raining in the desert.
 
A gentle winter rain that rolls across the southwestern landscape, bringing with it wandering water dragons to nest upon the mountain tops and slither through the valleys.
 
Sky meets earth. Air becomes liquid.
Droplets atomize and the desert melts.
 
In the city, where the desert is buried beneath scabs of asphalt and concrete, water drips from rooftop scuppers and power lines, splashes into the streets and rolls down into the washes.
 
The lowering ceiling of sky exaggerates the ever present semi-urban soundtrack of passing vehicles, planes and trains.
 
Old smells baked for months into the nothingness of their essence suddenly expand sponge-like with new life along alleys, in doorways and beneath underpasses: urine, garbage, cigarette smoke, compost, sweat, exhaust.
 
But further out from Tucson proper, where the horizon grows long and wide and expansive, in the places where the last mountains still rise as they have always done, unadorned with homes and roads and power lines, the winter rains signal the start of something new.
 
Everywhere instantly, a green tint begins its annual skyward migration. The moment of Spring’s conception begins, a liquid key setting secret tumblers in motion, unlocking refined DNA housed in seed casing vaults no thicker than a baby’s fingernail.
 
In this moment of moisture, the surface soil roils as roots take hold and the first tips of wildflower shoots unfold as precisely as new wings from a chrysalis.
 
Grasses, tan, dry and desiccated in winter hibernation glow newly green at the base.
 
A storm drifts in from the south settling atop a
decaying dike, submerging the moment in a wall of mist, draping all in diamonds before passing on.
 
A hidden language of chemical markings is unlocked.

Musks, earthy and rich tell tales of javelina, bob cats, coyotes, mule deer and mountain lions.
 
Upon the breath of caves dug by hard rock miner’s following the gold, acrid bat guano blends with the dust of dreams.
 
In the washes trickster coyotes practice their vocal illusions mixing joy with mirth and vulgarity.

A mule deer crashes through the underbrush,  jeweled antlers dripping.
 
Cactus wrens call from the saguaros.
 
An ant makes its way home.
 
Already the sun has begun to rise earlier and set later. In a couple of months it will bake this succulent world completely, hardening soil, sealing odors, evaporating these moments into memories to be recalled in the shade when watching for the first hint of monsoon clouds.

 
But for now, the cycle of possibility and new beginnings has begun.
 
I wonder what the Ox will bring?