The monsoons come in summer. At sunset Hailey and I plant ourselves on the trunk of my car and watch the lightning show. Atop the hills to the east, north and south the lightning bolts flash. It is quite the show to watch as darkness overwhelms twilight all grows dark. Then the lightning flashes. Five, four, three, two, one…we count until the thunder comes. The results of the high heat and humidity also bring about frightening and revolting consequences.
The Sawtooth Complex fire was started by lightning on July 9, 2006. The fire burned 61, 700 acres and destroyed 58 homes. The fire burned for nine days and was fully contained on July 18th. While the threat of fire is frightening there are less life threatening consequences of summer as well. The high heat bakes the Salton Sea and a collapsing temperature inversion creates algae blooms which microorganisms eat-creating a very strong sulfur stink.
One thing that doesn’t stink about summer is sleeping in. When the daughter sleeps over the rest of the year I have the privilege of kissing her goodnight and kissing her awake in the morning. Day breaks early on school days and the battle for quick breakfasts, furious face-washes and timely teeth-brushings seems never ending. Summer mornings I plant a kiss on her cheek and nudge her to move over and we catch a couple more hours of sleep. Breakfasts are bigger; bacon in the microwave, pancakes on the griddle.
Temperatures in the lower desert will hover around 115 degrees while in the high desert we get off with temps around 100. In the lower desert the air-conditioners run non-stop. Folks either leave town or become daytime prisoners in their own homes. Hence business slows down considerably. We take vacations.
This year will find us kayaking an ocean estuary and riding rail through redwoods. I truly enjoy the high-desert summer heat but it is good to go someplace where you need to sleep with a blanket.
Soon enough those blankets will need to be pulled from the home closet again, the swamp coolers covered back up and the air-conditioners turned off. In the low desert old folks will come outside again. Life will speed up and Fall will be upon us.