Today marks the official end of the monsoon season here in Tucson, and it’s been a remarkable one, especially in contrast to last year’s nonsoon. In 2020 we had one of the worst droughts on record—1.6 inches of rain for the entire season, which made for downright satanic summer heat in the midst of a pandemic. This year we had a rainfall total of 12.78 inches to date. It might not sound like much, but it’s our third wettest monsoon on record. 13.4 is the record. So close!
As much as I love monsoon season, I don’t love all the critters the rain brings out; mosquitoes, of course, are out in full force, but we’ve also had an invasion of worms, moths, and butterflies. (I did get some footage of the butterflies, but I haven’t had a chance to go through it yet.) For my part, I’ll take the heat over the bugs. I think I actually spent more time outside last summer, even though it was cooler this year. Then again, last summer was what you might call special, and there’s something about not being allowed to get together that makes us want to find creative ways to get together outdoors (see photo below). This time around I haven’t felt the need to make kiddie pools in the backyard; the monsoon storms have been keeping me entertained. (Geordie, not so much. In the photos below, he’s comforting his old gal, Bean, during a thunderstorm.)
I was excited to film the lightning up close with my waterproof GoPro, but when I looked at the footage, I discovered that it’s actually better to film from a little bit of a distance. Apparently when you’re right under the storm, all you see is flickering light inside clouds, not so much the lightning bolts themselves. Luckily there were plenty of storms throughout the season to film. Editing all that footage has given me a new appreciation of what is meant by the phrase “lightning fast”. Going through hours of footage frame by frame is pretty tedious, but definitely worth the effort. It was fascinating to see details I couldn’t see in real time. To make the video below, I used footage from two different storms and I slowed down some, well most, of the clips. The first storm in the video happened in the evening, the second one includes some time lapse footage of a storm beginning in the evening going into night. At the end you’ll see a moment when the lightning lights up the sky so that for a fraction of a second it appears to be daytime. (And I really do mean fraction of a second. To capture that moment, I had to slow the clip waaaaaaay down.) With all the cloud cover, it doesn’t seem possible for the world to appear so bright. It’s kind of eerie.
If you want to see some truly phenomenal lightning, check out the video below, which was filmed at a super high frame rate. (If you’re not interested in equipment and the like, you can skip ahead to 4:52.)
Further check in, seeing as it’s been a while: Besides my little moviemaking hobby, I’ve also been doing some very rudimentary crochet (you can see portions of the blankets I made in the aerial view of Geordie and Bean above), some very rudimentary oil painting, and some reworking of old short stories. The long-suffering novel is nearing completion…but then what? I still can’t bring myself to think about what to do with it. Hence, crochet.
What about you? What do you like doing during your summers?