When the desert seasons behave as they should, we are supposed to have a mini monsoon season during December, sometimes running into January but the mini monsoon has failed to materialise in the last few years. These rains are gentler and less intense than the main monsoon that marks the end of the hottest time of the year (in theory!)
We had been watching today's forecast for a while as it had promised rain, beginning during the night and then carrying on throughout most of the day. Sure enough in the early hours I was awakened by the sound of a steady drumming of rain on the roof. Nothing too severe, just a good steady rain that would allow all the desert plants to drink well.
When I got up at sunrise it was still raining but warm enough to sit outside and watch the animals slowly appearing, seemingly impervious to the rain as they went about there morning routine. First the quails came to the quail block, then the antelope squirrel, the House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches led a cavalcade of avian visitors to the various seed feeders whilst masses of hummingbirds swooped and buzzed around the nectar feeders.
Then the rain stopped and we started doing various chores around the yard. At one point I paused and happened to look to the south. 'Looks like another storm is headed our way.' We carried on working for a little while longer before we felt the first fat drops falling and scurried for cover. Then down it came!
The local Native Americans call the winter rains the female rains and the heavy summer rains are the male rains but today things got a little turned around and we ended up with what would normally classify as a good summer down pour. Within a couple of minutes the rain barrel was overflowing, quite literally.
And the down pipes had turned into a raging cascade!
We sheltered under the back porch watching the deluge before finally giving up and scuttling inside.
It wasn't long before the garden path outside the kitchen window began to turn into a stream.
And then into a slightly bigger stream,
And then into a river!
But then just as rapidly as it had approached us, the storm moved away, leaving the mountains behind us swathed in mysterious swirls of mist and cloud.
Slowly the river turned back into a stream
And the rain began to empty onto our neighbours to the east.
Not exactly a gentle winter rain but that is Mother Nature for you - she'll always keep you guessing.