The Drought is Broken
It has rained every day since May 5, 2023 and this is May 21, 2023. Too wet to ride, too wet to plow, too wet to leave the house. Water running in all the draws. Water standing in all the flats. Grass seed is germinating and sprouting everywhere. We live west of the Pecos in the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. During our monsoon the rain clouds don’t care where they are, they build anywhere and cross the Pecos from the Chihuahuan Desert to the Edwards Plateau. Old patterns and traditions don’t hold water anymore. It can rain anytime and anywhere. Reminds me of the time we were working on a ranch in the flats and it could get muddy when it rained. There was a big cloud building and we were afraid to leave the house and get stuck in the middle of that big flat 20 mile from the house. The boss said, “Don’t worry about that cloud,……..we never get a rain from that direction.” We left and got stuck for a couple days,…..we had to walk back to a camp, and enjoyed the coziness of the camp until it dried enough for us to get back to the highway. From then on we always made the comment that rain never came from that direction, except that great big one that stranded us for 2 days in the flat.
Anne and I left Sheffield to go to the ranchito and see how much it had rained. We could see a cloud above the divide, but that can be deceiving. Best to go check it out. We got up Lancaster Hill and sure enough it had rained and looked to be a good one. We drove 4 or 5 miles further to Hoover divide and all the bar ditches were running water and the flats were standing in water. We turned south on Hoover divide and all the draws were running water across the highway. We saw water running that we had never seen before. We turned East on our fence line and water was running every where. It was still sprinkling and the first low water crossing we came to was running bigger than we had ever seen it, I knew we could cross it, but I was sure paying attention and it was deeper than I thought. When we got across it, I stopped and Anne said let’s get out and see if we can hear any frogs……?? Sure enough they were croaking up stream and we were amazed. How long it had been since it was wet enough to hear frogs and where had the frogs been during this last dry spell, that had lasted for a couple years or longer.
She asked me where all this water drained to and I couldn’t tell her. She said let’s follow this draw and see where it goes. I knew the road followed the draw and I thought I knew where it went but I had never seen it run this big. We followed it to what I thought was the head of the canyon that had Shelter Cave in it. The road crossed it again and now there was a lot of water coming down this draw and I could see the road all right where it came out of the draw, but trying to gauge how deep it was and how fast it was running was too much to guess at. I had stopped and was scoping it all out. Anne said, “Lets go. We have to try it.”
A “man” has learned to have faith in his woman, and he will lead her nearly anywhere, just to show her he is a man. So I shoved “ole blue” in gear and plunged off into the water. The road was good and I knew that big rocks were not going to be a problem, but it was wide and getting deeper than I thought. Everything was going good so far, but we weren’t across it yet. I looked out the window of the pick-up and the water was right there. I kept it steady and I had time to say the Lords Prayer twice before we hit dry ground on the other side. We followed it to our favorite trail that leads down to Shelter Cave and we got out and went down to see how much water was running past the cave. When we got to cave the water was running hard right up to the opening of the cave. It was running so big and fast that it was impossible to cross over to the cave.
We went on to check the draws at Escondido Water Hole and they were also running big. The canyon was running all the way to Escondido Canyon and through our water gag. But no damage to the water gap.
We returned home to Sheffield with our hearts full of thanksgiving for the beautiful times. We have had a beautiful May. The temperature has barely made it to 90 degrees and no mosquitos to speak of so far. We are eating apricot preserves, apricot cobbler with ice cream and have plenty of mulberries for our oat meal every morning. What else could you wish for ……?????