Sep 24, 2007

Clearing the Air

By Rene Allen

According to today’s Arizona Star, the monsoon season for Tucson has officially ended. Directional air flow, seasonal shift, the rotation of Mother Earth and her tilted axis, call it what you will, but there’s been a precipitous drop in humidity and mornings are something to sing about.

On the evening of September 1, we shouldered through a wedding reception in our backyard. Before, everyone watched the sky. Rain or no rain? It rained. I sat on the porch swing at 3 in the afternoon and watched it. There was a grand lightening show. Thunder rolled and banged. Our son’s in-laws, straight from San Francisco worried. Would it stop in time? “Never fear,” I said.” This is the desert. In an hour it’ll all be over and the air will be about ten degrees cooler and well, it couldn’t be more perfect.”

We received a lot of rain this summer, almost 7 inches. The Catalina Mountains to the North, burned out in two consecutive wildfires three and four years ago, are green and happy. I’m happy. When there is rain and the cacti swell like plump thumbs and dozens of thimble sized baby quail scurry after their parents, I feel like Robert Browning did in “Pippa’s Song,” God’s in his heavens, All’s right with the world.

Fifty years from now, were someone to cut down one of the 100 ft. tall eucalyptus trees behind our home, and look at those telling tree rings, he would see a good year, a nice fat ring coming after seven extraordinarily thin ones. It’s been a long, dry haul. Strangely, we haven’t heard a word from Tucson Water about rationing this year, and they didn’t even bother with their Beat the Peak campaign about being smart water users. I think it was relief, plain old relief that this year the heavens opened and gave us water and okay, take a break from all the worry about having enough to survive. We’ll get back to that soon enough.

And now, officially, the season is over but I don’t think anyone told the desert. It’s still green and happy, optimistic about another year, recovered from the seven years of drought. That’s the amazing thing about the desert, how it manages when there is so little moisture, and how those dry and brittle limbs and shriveled saguaros turn green and plump after the rain.

I wanted to write about hope today, how that is the compelling quality that keeps us going when times are tough, hope that they’ll get better, hope that something will change, hope that I can change. That’s what a famous teacher once told me, Virginia Satir. She said there is always hope your life can change because you can always learn new things.

I remember looking out my window two years ago, when the rainfall had been half what it is now, and wondering if the desert would be scarred and changed forever. Today, I look out and see bees hovering over the Mexican Birds of Paradise, and a autumn blue sky that is clean and clear, and I am reminded that there in One who knows more, loves more, blesses more than any of us souls who worry so much about the desert and rain and what the future holds.

In Moroni 10:22, Moroni says if you don’t have hope, you are in despair, and that despair comes because of iniquity. I have thought a great deal about that verse, asking myself what kind of iniquity was Moroni speaking about?

He also says that where there is faith, there must also be hope. Is that iniquity of which Mornoi speaks a lapse in faith? I have wondered.

Faith, hope, rain and drought and the end of the monsoon season, wheeling into fall: it’s been a good summer, a reminder that my ways, are not His, He who created this earth, who watches and governs it. "God is in His heavens, All’s right with the world."


  1. Rene,
    I love your teacher's quote: "there is always hope your life can change because you can always learn new things."

    What an encouraging, uplifting message! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on "hope" with us.

  2. What is it in the aftermath of a rain that makes all of us romantics? Even the most prosaic of us. Excellent post.

  3. Oh, Rene, how you took me back to my childhood. I grew up in Tucson and memories of those monsoons came flooding to me as I remembered the sound of rain on our flat roof house, the smell of creosote during a storm, of floating twigs, leaves and branches down the streets and then racing after them to beat them before they disappeared into the washes. (Long heavy, breathless sigh.) How I miss the monsoons of the Southern Sonoron desert. It was as if Heavenly Father had created this gift just for me. At night when I couldn't sleep He sent His sweet lullaby as an answer to my whispered prayer. Thanks for helping me remember

  4. They are wonderful, Betsy, arent, they. We are thinking of moving to Southern Utah. I'm trying to do watercolors and journal entries of all the things I love about Tucson.

  5. Rene, thank you for your descriptions of the desert after rain. I can almost smell the air, hear the thunder and rain drops, see the blooms, and feel your joy.

    Now about Moroni. I suppose a lapse of faith would bring on discouragement, but Moroni talks of NO hope, which despair comes from iniquity. If we ever lose all hope, we give up. We stay in bed. We don't care for others, cook, clean, read, study, or write. We neither plant nor harvest. We become, I suppose, like prisoners on death row, whose hopes for not being caught were dashed when they were arrested, slowly waned as they were tried and convicted, and now, finally all hope has disappeared as they can see no way out. Does that not come from iniquity? Yet, as long as we're free to make choices, there is hope. The better the choice, the more hope grows.

    Moroni tells us that faith, hope and charity are inextricably entwined and follow each other in an ever ascending spiral -- when we make good choices. If our choices are poor, they spiral downward, but like the old song, (they) go together ... and you can't have one without the other.

    As for the little lapses, they can become big, or get squelched, depending on our choices, but they do not induce despair yet. Someone said, "Where there's life, there's hope," and Moroni adds faith and charity.

    Thanks again for the provocative blog.

  6. Rene,
    May I share your thoughts with my sisters in the ward? I see so much of that hopelessness in their eyes...not all of them, but even one is too many. I think the most challenging trial I see lately is the amount of mental illness that is being manifested. Knowing that because "God is in His heavens, All's right with the world." is such a blessing. If I can just share a little of that hope so that they can be motivated to seek out information and find help.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.