Yesterday it rained.
I know you soaked East Coasters & Southerners are not impressed. But here, after a week of no precipitation in the desert, the rain fell like a miracle.
I’m trying to define it: how Santa Fe is different than Laramie. And no, they are NOT as different as you might think. Last night we had drinks with a man who’d moved from Massachusetts, eager to tell us about our new habitat.
“Have you noticed,” he asked, “that if you spill something on your shirt, it dries right away?” We were conflicted. We appreciated the welcome cocktail invitation. We felt grateful that they embraced us in our new community. But yes, we knew that, about stuff drying quickly. Santa Fe is not all that different than Laramie.
6700 feet here vs. 7200 feet in altitude back in Laramie. Both are high-altitude deserts. Laramie gets an average of 12 inches of precipation a year; Santa Fe get 15 inches a year. For those keeping score at home, New Orleans can get 8 inches in one storm. Seattle gets an average of 142 inches a year.
Here the Santa Fe vs. Laramie difference is: Laramie gets most of the moisture in the early spring snows while Santa Fe gets it in the summer monsoons.
And it had gotten hot here this last week. 97 degrees on Saturday, whereas the record high for Laramie is 89. (Yeah, I know – both are dry heats.) Worse, it didn’t cool at night. We’ve been used to our mountain nights, dropping to 45 degrees for cool sleeping. This last week, we’d been waking up to 67. David was not sleeping well.
Which means none of us were.
I’m assured that, this last week of hot nights, is unusual weather in Santa Fe. However, I feel compelled to point out that another guest at last night’s gathering told us the cool rainy weather was highly unusual. In fact, on four separate occasions now, we’ve been told the current Santa Fe weather is not typical.
We’re reserving judgement.
But something about yesterday’s rain… Because we were hot. Because we were tired. Because I really wanted to try out my new fourt-foot-tall rain catchment pot and my new rain chain. When the rain arrived, we revelled.
Nobody in Laramie, that I know of, has rain catchment barrels. Here, they’re an art form. Rain is more rare in Laramie, but here it is more precious. I don’t quite understand why.
But somehow here it felt like a gift, falling with music and grace and bounty.
I’ve learned not to question such gifts.