Tonight I’m looking out the window at dark rain clouds; that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s actually going to rain, but it’s indicative of the cooler weather we’ve had this summer. I’ve lived in Colorado long enough — almost 52 years — to know that the weather here goes through cycles.
More often than not, we’re in a drought situation. That’s why this area was referred to as the “Great American Desert” back in the 19th Century. It’s not really a true desert, more of the high plains that are covered with native grasses that used to feed the huge herds of bison that roamed the plains.
Some of those beautiful tall grasses are still around and I see them every morning when I got out for a walk. It’s not much of a walk — just about 30 minutes at a moderate pace — but I use it to start off each day in a good mood. There’s something about hearing the birds, seeing the growth of the various grasses and weeds, even watching the dragonflies flitting around, that makes this something that never fails to put me into a good mood.
The past few years, those grasses have been dry and brown by now. This year, they’re tall and still green, although the seeds on the ends of the tall stems are now turning brown. This morning, it was actually quite cool walking on the various dirt paths that make up my favorite trail in the greenbelt.
It’s had an effect on our lawn as well — my Rachio Iro sprinkler timer has informed me multiple times that it is skipping a watering cycle due to the chance of rain coming in the next 48 hours. It has usually been correct.
One thing I’m very happy about is the lack of hail so far this year — the Front Range of Colorado is probably one of the top spots in the world for damaging hail, and we’ve been quite lucky this year in terms of not getting nailed by the golf ball-sized crap that seems to hit us every few years.
We’ll see how the rest of this summer pans out, but we’re going into our regular monsoon month — August — with little or no forest fires or dry brown fields.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Weather 5280 website, which provides some of the best analysis of Colorado weather that I’ve seen. This week, the site had features on the low seasonal temperatures and the higher-than-average rainfall, both of which are very welcome. It’s a wonderful resource for people who live in the Columbine State who want to know more about the weather than they get from the sensationalist asshats on the local news stations or Weather Channel.