The Weather

It’s all relative.

One of the reasons I left the New York City metro area years ago and moved to Arizona was the weather. The winters in the New York area were just too darn cold. I recall getting ready to go to work one winter morning and glancing out the window at the thermometer to find it reading -7°F. (That’s -22°C for you metric folks.) There was an icicle hanging from it.

The winters were gray, too. By November, the trees would be bare and their trunks and branches were gray. The sky was gray. When it snowed, the snow turned gray. Even the grass seemed gray. It would stay like that until May when the trees budded up again.

One year, it snowed not long after New Years and there was snow on the ground for a full two months. Gray snow.

I don’t like cold weather and I found the gray depressing.

So I moved to Arizona. Winter days here in Wickenburg are quite mild — often warm enough for a T-shirt. Winter nights are cold, sometimes getting down into the mid 20s. The desert depends on the sun for heat and the sun doesn’t disappoint. It’s sunny most days. When the sun sets, the temperature can easily drop 20°F in less than an hour.

The sun does its work only too well in the summer time. It gets hot. Hotter than I bargained for. Hotter than hell for at least two months out of the year. Don’t be lured to Arizona by cheap hotel rates in July and August. Even the people who live here wouldn’t come here then.

Arizona SunriseYesterday and today, it was overcast. It’s been making great sunrises (like the one in this photo, taken out the front of my house this morning) and sunsets.

Today it actually rained.

Rain is a big deal in Arizona. We can go literally months without any rain. This was probably the first rain in at least a month.

For the past two days, the sky has been gray. I’m glad, though, because the sky is blue and clear so often that gray makes a nice change. Everyone I spoke to today pretty much felt the same way. “I hope it rains,” one main said, looking up at the sky.

It had already rained once, but that’s never enough. In Arizona, we hope it rains all day long.

Arizona SunriseYou can hope for rain all you want in Arizona because you’re not likely to get it. Sometimes, when it rains, the air is so dry that the rain dries up before it hits the ground. You can actually see it falling under the cloud, but it disappears before making anything wet. The phenomena is called virga and I think I’ve seen enough of it to last a lifetime. You can see some in this picture, looking pink because of the rising sun. (This picture was taken out my back door yesterday morning.) Sometimes you can actually smell the rain and still not feel a drop. What a tease that is.

The rain does have an interesting smell here. Not at all like back east and nothing like the ocean. Mostly, it’s the smell of the creosote bush. I think it’s the smell of the rain that I like the most. Last night, we slept with the bedroom door open to the patio. This morning, the rain smell was the first thing I noticed. Nice.

Is it possible for the weather in a place to be too nice? I think so.

When you look forward to a rainy day just to have a break from all the good weather, I think that’s proof enough that you’re getting too much of a good thing.

What do you think?