Saturday, April 13, 2019

Tucson Lit: Creation Stories

Rain over Alamogordo, New Mexico. July 2013.

The quotes in this post are by Barbara Kingsolver, from her essay, Creation Stories, which I found in her collection of essays called High Tide in Tucson. Ms. Kingsolver lived in Tucson for more than 20 years.

I haven't experienced yet the monsoons of Tucson, but I've had a taste in New Mexico and El Paso, such as here, here, and here.

I feel as if I have front-and-center seats for the coming natural theater this summer. I can hardly wait. 

From Ms. Kingsolver:  

Man and Woman rain

June is the crudest month in Tucson ... This is the season when every living thing in the desert swoons south toward some faint salt dream of the Gulf of Mexico: tasting the horizon, waiting for the summer storms. ... The birds are pacing the ground stiff-legged, panting .. Waiting. .... Every plant looks pitiful and, when you walk past it, moans a little, envious because you can walk yourself to a drink and it can't. 

Rain over Alamogordo, New Mexico. July 2013.

The water that came last winter is long gone. 'Female rain,' it's called in Navajo: the gentle, furtive rains that fall from overcast skies between November and March. .... In June there is no vital sign, not so much as a humid breath against a pane of glass, till the summer storms arrive. What we're waiting for now is male rain. Big, booming, wait-till-your-father-gets-home cloudbursts that bully up from Mexico and threaten to rip the sky. 

Rain over Alamogordo, New Mexico. July 2013.

We revel in our misery [of June] only because we know the end, when it comes, is so good. One day there will be a crackling, clean creosote smell in the air and the ground will be charged and the air on your arms will stand on end and BOOM, you are thrillingly drenched. All the desert toads crawl out of their burrows, swell out their throat, and scream for sex while the puddles last. The ocotillos leaf out before your eyes, like a nature show on fast forward.

Octotillos, UTEP, El Paso, Texas. April 2017.

There is so little time before the water sizzles back to thin air again. So little time to live a whole life in the desert. This is elemental mortality, the root of all passion.

Source: Barbara Kingsolver

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