After all that warmth and sunshine last month we have experienced over an inch of rain, enough to take Tucson out of the drought category, and generate cooler temperatures. Rain in the desert is strange. At first the sky grew dark and full of heavy clouds and the weathermen said that it was raining, but the air was so dry it took a few hours for the drops to finally make it to the ground. There are no sewers or gutters in Tucson, but the water doesn't soak into the ground very readily. The traffic slowed to a crawl, reminding us of blizzard driving. The rain water flowed down low spots in the road, but we saw no real flooding. Now that there is more humidity in the air, the temperature change between day and night is much less volatile. Of course, when the sun is not shining, temperatures are cooler. Nearby Mt. Lemmon has a ski area that rarely sees snow. When it's cold enough, some is manufactured. This storm brought real, natural snow to the mountain top. This far south, that's an amazing thought.
We've heard that close observation of the saguaro cactus would show that they are in accordion mode; their pleated sides have pulled close together during the long drought, but now they are beginning to swell from the bottom to the top as their roots soak up as much precious moisture as feasible and their sides bulge out. We're hoping that things will start blooming and leafing soon, and cheated a bit by going to the botanical garden, which has warm weather plants that are watered regularly and would never endure true desert conditions to see some things in bloom. The garden has a butterfly house. It's fun trying to catch these critters in action, but my camera struggles to focus on these volatile creatures. Volunteers checked us at the door of the butterfly house to insure that none of them hitchhiked to freedom in our clothing.
All this weather has cramped our athletic activities - we have missed both scheduled campground bike rides and tennis. Here's hoping winter is over soon before we have to leave and drive back to real winter.