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Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)
By Margaret Villanueva
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If you have never experienced a Tucson monsoon, you don’t know what you’re missing. We wait patiently through June for the show to begin. We keep an eye on the dew point, the temperature to which the air has to drop in order for moisture in the air to condense. As you might expect, it is normally pretty low. We wait for it to reach 55, and then to stay there. When it hovers for three days in a row, we know that we are in monsoon.
A typical monsoon day starts with clear blue skies. If there are clouds, the old-timers shake their heads and tell us, “No rain today”. The day begins with a welcome bit of dry coolness, but that disappears as early as 8am. By mid-morning, the sun is blazing, the temperature is climbing, and the humidity begins. It becomes more and more oppressive, and then the clouds come.
Clouds in Arizona are truly a sight to behold. Enormously white in the brilliant blue, they fill the sky with magnificence. I live very close to the Catalina Foothills, and the clouds shadow them and bring them into sharp contrast with themselves. During monsoon, the clouds begin by peaking out from behind the hills. You can barely see them—it’s as if they are playing hide and seek. As they slowly show themselves, they are first white, then silver, then a dark angry grey. Often you will see all those colors at the same time. The clouds brood in the sky: collecting their strength, waiting for the proper moment. As the white finally disappears, converted into an angry silver-grey-blue-black mass brooding above, the thunder begins. Arizona thunder seems to come from everywhere at once. It can be heard from all sides, and the lightning that follows pierces the sky, sometimes a single electric line, other times spreading through the sky down to earth in rows that fork off themselves, looking for all the world as if they were electric roots from some enormous heavenly plant in the clouds.
The thunder and lightning usually come before the rain. When the rain does start, it often starts all at once, without the spits and starts of normal rain. It comes in a wind, hurtling against the windows in drops so big that they are easily seen. Rain sheets down, white in its intensity, and the sound! It beats against windows and walls, sometimes so loud that it overcomes the noise within—many drummers drumming on myriad different drums of varying sizes, all playing at once. We are a desert people, and we pray for rain. Safe behind our windows, we yearn to be out in it--be part of the show. The smell is intoxicating. We open wide our windows and doors, careless of the water sheeting in, so that the smell can saturate us with its bouquet.
I see the monsoon as a picture of the power of the Holy Spirit. You see signs of his coming—the brooding sensation of the Spirit hovering, covering you and making you ready. And then—the storm! The Holy Spirit comes down upon you, thunder and lightning in your spirit heralding his arrival. Sometimes the fire can be seen in one place, one person only. Other times it forks throughout an assembly, a church, an entire city—calling them to revival and renewal. And the rain! It inhabits you, covering you with strength, filling you with the intoxicating sense of his presence, until all you can do is stand with your head to the heavens, hands open wide, calling out in your heart, “More, Lord, send me more!”. My prayer for you, dear reader, is that the monsoon of the Spirit come upon you and saturate you with his intoxicating peace and love, filling you to overflowing, and causing you to call to him “More! More!”
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