The gentle breezes ruffle the curtains of my nostalgic mind. Okay, it’s wishful thinking. But let me dream a bit, okay? Because the reality is it’s September. And this is the Mojave Desert. Know what that means? WIND.
Yep! Fall has arrived. The weather is much more temperate, but with that comes the blasting winds that will keep us company until next May when it gets nice and hot again. We joke around here that we have two seasons. Hot and hotter.
It’s not true, you know. We have four. Hot, Cold, Windy, and Windier. Yep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But as much as I really despise the fall wind, fall in the desert has some beautiful things. First, it is cooler. No longer do we open our front door and feel as though we entered the oven in Hansel and Gretel’s candy cottage. And some of those winds start out almost balmy—the Santa Annas before they get too harsh. Nights become downright cold. So, even on the warmest days, we don’t need the swamp anymore because we cooled off the house by leaving our windows open all night.
Unfortunately, fall doesn’t last for three months here. We get a maximum of six weeks before it goes from temperate to COLD.
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People often don’t get it. How can we possibly have a cold winter? After all, it’s the DESERT. Isn’t it hot? We’re in California, for cryin’ out loud!
Yeah. It gets cold here, folks. No, it doesn’t get to 20 below zero. Nope. But it gets in the twenties at night. It’s thirty degrees higher at the warmest in the day, but while twenty isn’t ZERO, it is below freezing, and therefore is COLD. Period. But with that cold comes my favorite part of winter.
Lots of heavy blankets on the bed.
Oh, how I love sleeping under the weight of heavy blankets. I sleep SO well in winter. And, if you know me at all, you’ll know. I LOVE sleep.
Best part of winter is sleeping under those blankets. However, next to that, there’s always Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those are pretty cool, too.
Spring arrives in March.
It blasts into the desert on turbulent winds that often mean overturned trucks, roofs losing shingles and tiles, oh. And destroyed solar panels. Lots of very expensive solar panels—ruined. Yep! Welcome, Spring!
But along with those blessed blasts comes the coolest part of the desert—in bloom. For just a couple of weeks every year, we see colors other than varying shades of taupe. The desert floor becomes carpeted with green, yellow, purple. Sometimes wild lupines grow in ditches. The wildflowers can be magical—almost painfully beautiful. And yes, it only lasts couple of weeks, but for those weeks, we’re all just a little awed by what the Lord has done in our valley.
Alas, spring is much like fall—we get about six weeks maximum. And then the heat comes.
Hello, our longest season—SUMMER!
From mid-May through mid-September and sometimes into October, scorching weather comes.
You know, we always say, “It’s a dry heat.” But that’s just desert optimism talking. What it really means is that the desert has dessicated our brains and we don’t know what we’re saying anymore!
Still, there are things I do like about it—the biggest being, of course. NO WIND. Seriously, it’s almost non-existent compared to the rest of the year! That thrills my soul.
Then there are a couple of other things. For example, rain. Usually, we get at least one flash flood. Just an hour or two of torrential rains that make it possible to float down some streets in rubber rafts. WHEEE! And that means, of course… that amazing desert rain smell. There’s nothing like it in the world. If I could get soap… sigh.
Second to that is that slightly musty, very earthy scent that comes after the swamp has been turned off for an hour or two. People always ask me what the “swamp” is. After all, there is no standing water anywhere around here, right?
Swamp cooler. Or, to some “evaporative cooler.” Basically, it’s a huge fan in box lined with pads. A pump sprays water on the pads which cools the air. That gets sucked into the house as the giant fan blows. Cool air.
Yeah. We don’t have AC. It can get over 120 degrees here, but nope. No AC. That’s the downside of summer, of course.
Another upside, however, is that after four or five months of over 90 degrees every day, most of those over 100 or 110… FALL arrives again.
Hello, wind! Goodbye heat! And it all starts all over again. Just like one of my favorite children’s books, Over and Over.