Saturday, September 17, 2016

Comes a South Wind

Welcome rain...

It had been a few weeks since we'd gotten any good rain, and that surprised me, considering that Columbus, Mississippi, is supposed to get no less than three inches of rain, even in a "dry" month. Contrast that to southern New Mexico which might get seven inches of rain in a year. I stepped out on the porch this morning, and I was surprised how wet the air felt. The weather app said it was 73 degrees but 83 percent humidity, and when I looked up the rain chances it indicated a 65 percent chance of rain.

The Coffee House on 5th is in a busy block of
Downtown Columbus, MS
Later, when I went off to the Coffee House on 5th for my daily cuppa and a visit with the people who work there, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and was glad to see there came a south wind, the sky was thickly overcast as well and the wind was moving the clouds northward. It was like being bathed with wet air and it felt good. I think that when the winds come from the south (maybe) we have a better chance of rain. I'll have to see how this plays out each time we get a wind from the south.

The overcast skies, the wet south wind, and later the rain that fell made me think of the contrast with southern New Mexico where I moved from.

Me coming back from the post office in
Southern NM (hehehe)
For those who have never been to southern New Mexico, or maybe the west, in general, it might be difficult to imagine what we mean by the desert. For many people who don't know, perhaps the image of the Sahara comes to mind, but the desert in southern New Mexico is teeming with wild life, mesquite, yucca (the state flower), and surprising micro-habitats. Sometimes, there, when it rains and the water comes down from the mountains it fills the arroyos with angry rushing water, with the power to cut a canyon into a paved road, and the water comes, does its damage, and quickly disappears into the ground into the aquifers. In the boot-heel of Southern New Mexico, a tour guide at a copper smelting plant told us that we were sitting on an "ocean of water." But I must tell you that such an ocean is very deep below ground and is very briney. It would take a water crisis of great severity to make that ocean of water economically feasible to pump and then desalinate before it could be used for agriculture and human consumption. However, in the same area, there are geothermal water aquifers and the largest geothermal-powered greenhouse in the United States raises roses that supplies florists all over the country.

But it's what lies above ground that makes such a dramatic contrast to what I've seen and enjoyed here in Mississippi.  I am looking forward to more rain. Apparently August and September are dryer than other times of the year, which might explain why, right now, the grass is looking less lush, the leaves are still green but yellowing and limp, and I cast my eyes heavenward hoping for the refreshing rain. Later in the year, I might be howling from the downpours...but not yet. Oh, no, not yet. Let it rain...let the south wind come.

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