July and August are called “monsoon season” in these parts, which was funny to me at first because it’s the desert so how can there be monsoons, right? But where “the skies are not cloudy all day” any hard rain can cause flash floods. In fact, a few years ago such floods took out houses and businesses down the road in El Paso. Most areas have culverts to divert rushing water away from the homes, and there are naturally occurring arroyos – Spanish for washes or dry river beds.
My house lives at about 3,800 feet in an area of Las Cruces called High Range. The neighborhood sort of meanders north to south on slopes that run east to west into the Mesilla Valley and the Rio Grande. Before I left for Indiana in May the city was reconstructing a major culvert running under Roadrunner Parkway just down the street. Looks like the work has since been completed, and this weekend Aw’gy and I will walk down there to take a look. Then we’ll see what’s new in the nearby arroyos. (Could be new plants and critters, but could also be a computer monitor shell or ripped up sheets or other human detritus!)
This time of year the usually dry washes are damp and fragrant. Rabbits of all colors and sizes nibble on the new vegetation that’s made its way into the beds. Quail scatter, the occasional lizard dares to dart across the sand and Aw’gy fills his houndy jowls with earthly smells. Sometimes he’ll happen upon something that must be incredibly dense because he’ll plant his paws to linger over a spot. I get to watch his whole muzzle taking in the news. In fact, people say that walking your dog is akin to letting them read the morning paper. For at least this houndy-lab, it must be like visiting the Library of Congress.
Southern New Mexico sits in the Chihuahuan Desert where the annual rainfall averages 13 inches so rain is most welcome here. We would never wish flooding conditions on anyone’s head, home or horse, but I do love when it rains really hard. Not only does it smell and feel wonderful, but then we get to rediscover life anew in the arroyos.