As a low pressure system moved out of California overnight and today, it pushed to the east. Ahead of it, moisture-laden clouds moved swiftly over dry, rain-shadowed basins across the Desert Southwest and slogged and slowed their way through the buoyant and cooled-to-the-dew point atmosphere that over-topped many mountain peaks. Thunder rumbled and rolled down the aeons-old slopes and its echoes made music in the canyons. Lightning struck at will, perhaps giving life somewhere to that ancient creature of the wild and long-employed steward of our natural lands: fire. At each peak the clouds became colder and gained immense weight, and unable to progress eastward, dropped their heaviness in the form of rainy precipitation. As the drops fell, they picked up particles from the air; dust, pollen, pollution from our lives, the wonderfully unmatched aromas of Creosotebush and Juniper, along with that clean high-altitude scent that immediately transports one’s thoughts to the Sangre de Cristo Range of northern New Mexico; perhaps not far from the vertically-walled Cimarron Canyon, or the ragged, exposed igneous intrusion aptly called Tooth of Time.
But this isn’t New Mexico.
This is the high-desert, ruggedly remote country of the Mountains and Basins Province, west of the Pecos River in Far West Texas – the true West Texas. The rain is what we live for each day; it’s why we stand in our doorways and watch – like we’ve never seen it before or it’s our last time to do so – as it clatters down from fat, flat-bottomed clouds, cleans our air and rushes adrenaline through our mortally doomed systems. It’s the key to life, and seeing that moisture in its natural form is the best motion picture of the year – nothing else comes close.