Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weekend Assignment #327: Surviving Summer!

Funny how things work out. I had a very different entry planned for Weekend Assignment #327: Beat the Heat!

Weekend Assignment #327: Beat the Heat!

Summer is well underway now. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the days are long and the sun is on its way to being about as hot as it gets in your particular climate. How do you stay cool when the weather gets hot?

Extra Credit: If you've ever relocated hundreds of miles to a new home, did the climate play a role in your decision to move?
You know; it was going to be something about how this is the worst time of year to be in Tucson, when the humidity rises but the monsoon hasn't really gotten started, clearing away the heat with dramatic thunderstorms nearly every afternoon. Our monsoon was due a couple of weeks ago, so so far it's mostly sweltery, and hardly rainy at all.

I also was going to reveal that the white round thing in my Round Robin entry was indeed a fan, a standing fan that John just bought for his office. And that other thing, white with ice? That's the air conditioner in out den, frozen up because of the humidity.

Anyway, I was going to write about all that this morning, my entry having been delayed by my working every day since July 6th for one church or the other. (I may have had the 11th off, but Sundays are always busy for me anyway.) But then this morning I had a Facebook message from my friend Sherry Watson, the artist known as Sherlock. She and her sister Amy were in town for the day, and headed out to the Desert Museum. Did I want to get together with them? Well, yeah!

Sherry and Amy at the Desert Museum, in the pre-monsoon heat and humidity.

But mid-July at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is not the most comfortable place in the world to be. There were clouds and storms on the horizon, but it barely sprinkled over the museum itself, which is essentially a modern, cage-free zoo in the desert. I was soon hiking around the desert in 100 degree F heat, with high humidity making things much worse than they would be otherwise. Even though I made use of almost every bench and almost every water fountain I came across, I was in a bit of distress after a while. Ultimately the Watson sisters meandered on toward the hummingbird aviary while I recovered at the coffee bar with a bagel and iced tea. (Yes, I did get to the hummingbirds eventually.)

a coyote in the shade

Along the way I did see a number of animals, but most of them (the mammals, anyway) were taking advantage of any shade they had available to them. In fact ASDM is set up for that, providing dens so the animals can wait out the heat of the day, just as they do in the wild.

Javalinas, sacked out under a bridge.

And me? I was really appreciative of the gift shops, the underground viewing galleries and the fake cave where the geology exhibit is. In my own way, I did my best to escape the heat the same way the animals did - by getting the heck out of the sun!

Oh, and yes, we knew about the climate in Tucson, and chose to move here in 1986. We were sick of winter in Syracuse and Columbus, Ohio, and had spent a few months driving around, looking for someplace it wasn't winter. Our first day in Tucson, it was 90 degrees in March, and we went to the Desert Museum. We soon hit an unseasonable storm, complete with hail(!). So it one day, and in the days around it, we hit a range of Tucson weather. And it was better than 278 non-sunny days annually in Syracuse.

But not in the weeks immediately before the monsoon!



Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

Hey, I've been there a couple times. Several business meetings at the Omni. I've never actually seen any wildlife at the Museum, though. That's ok, we have coyotes in Chicago.

undiscoveredauthor said...

The pics of animals hanging out in the shade was a nice take on the topic.

Also... I didn't know Arizona had a monsoon season... Then again... I guess I knew the high desert was famous for its thunderstorms. I remember them when visiting the Grand Canyon as a kid.