The Storm After the Calm

When I left San Diego to go to school in Montana, I was warned by dozens of people about the unpredictability of the weather. I was told to always dress in layers to be prepared, and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard the “If you don’t like the weather in Montana, wait ten minutes!” joke. However, none of my experiences in Montana have matched the volatility of a summer afternoon in the Southwest.

Plant from one of Capulin’s greenhouses

I spent a summer working in northern Arizona, so I’m no stranger to monsoon season. For anyone not familiar, much of the Southwest experiences near-daily afternoon storms in the summer, regardless of the weather earlier in the day. This morning was an early summer dream, spent banding hummingbirds and working in the garden. We finally took the tomatoes, spinach, squash, and herbs out of the greenhouse and passed a beautiful two hours in the dirt and sunshine. But thunderclouds roll in within minutes – if you’re distracted by your work, sometimes a flash of lightning is your only warning. After such a flash, New Mexico presented us with the most spectacular hail-thunder-lightning storm I’ve had the delight and terror of viewing in my twenty-two years. Delight because watching a storm roll in and unleash on this landscape is a dramatically beautiful experience; terror for the structural integrity of my yurt and my car. Both were okay in the end, but it remains to be seen if the same can be said for our garden. (Main image used with permission from Capulin Volcano National Monument’s official Facebook page)

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