More than once, I have offered to throw myself off of Apache Leap or Magma Ridge if this fatal and final act would have any positive outcome on the bringing of summer rain to the Arboretum. It would be a symbolic offering to be sure, but if it brought the rains, I felt that the sacrifice of one human being -- me in this case -- would be worth it. I considered doing a swan dive or perhaps a full gainer, something graceful yet profound. It would be worth watching and would leave no doubt as to the earnestness of my desire for the sky to deliver its stubborn and recalcitrant payload of moisture.
Generally speaking, my thoughts of making the ultimate sacrifice don’t start until we’re well into the monsoon flow, usually around early to mid August. By this time, all those that use evaporative coolers are experiencing true, human suffering, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the correct conditions for dramatic thunderstorms are upon us. The rock-bottom, single-digit humidities of June are a thing of the past and the sweat that was efficiently disappearing from our skin at just about the same rate as it was being created, now just piles up like oil on the morning tide.
This early in the year, though, my attitude is usually fairly positive. My thoughts are still focused on giving nature a fairly long leash and allowing it to produce rain without me trying to force the issue by performing some dramatic, acrobatic ritual. As I stand outside in back of the Smith Building and look towards the northeast, I can smell the rain and I can hear the rumblings, and I know that eventually, it will rain. If not today, definitely tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, it will surely rain next week. If half of our rain falls during the summer monsoon, then we should be expecting some fraction of eight inches to fall at any minute. And so, for now, I wait.