What? Not April showers? Not here. Statistically, it’s driest the month in my part of New Mexico, and one of the windiest. Here’s my recipe for an April day in Sierra County, if you’d like to experience one:
Grit and sand, fine enough to blow around
Pollen from elm and juniper, enough to reach an 11 or so on the 12-point pollen count scale
Add creosote bush for aroma
Mix and toss into dryer, turn heat on high, and let it blow.
Decorate with cacti and various subtly flowering spiky shrubs
It’s not a bad month. In fact, if you run a wind farm or solar installation, it may well be the best month of the year, but it’s not most people’s idea of April. Some folks would call this summer. The temperatures have hit ninety a few times, well above our normal April average of 78. On the plus side, that’s hot enough that the creosote bush smells good. The smell comes from volatile oils, primarily terpene (also found in pines), limonene (found in citrus), camphor (found in pines and rosemary), methanol (wood alcohol), and 2-undecanone (don’t ask me what that is, but it’s found spices). Creosote only breathes in the morning so it won’t lose water, but the smell comes off it in the hot afternoon. It smells better after rain, but that’s not due any time soon.
Nonetheless, things are growing. Agave plants are sending up the bizarre stalks that will eventually flower. Right now, they look like gargantuan asparagus tips. Claret cup cactus is in bloom. Green fronds are waving from the tips of mesquite branches, and a type of bush that has looked like a mass of dead black thorns all winter is covered with tiny white blossoms.
For some reason, the lizards are leaping. I’ve never noticed them doing this before. Tiny gray lizards are not only running around at their usual astounding speeds, but jumping onto rocks four or five times as high as the wee reptiles are long. It’s an impressive feat. And they have impressive feet, featuring long golden toes like little strands of straw, apparently good for clinging when they land. They seem to stop and pose so I can admire them, but they may be recovering from the leap. Springing is hard work. Pun intended.
How is spring in your part of the world?
2 thoughts on “April Dryers”
As always, your blog writing is very descriptive, creative and inspirational; I was able to drink in the sights,listen to the sounds, inhale the various flavors from the desert, and experience the visuals in thought and spirit. It sounds truly beautiful. Our pollen count is extremely high this year, and in recent years, we have been way above average in the springtime—heat and humidity; however, this year, it hasn’t stopped raining, snowing, sleeting or blowing. The skies have been a grey pallor hanging overhead, and every now and again, we have become unseasonably warm, but the warmth ushers in a surge in humidity.
Gray pallor. Sleet. I think I like our blue-skied wind better, even though it’s howling today.