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June is the Cruelest Month

Who was it that called April the cruelest month? There was a time in life when I appreciated the wisdom of that old saying. But after a few years in the Southwest, April loses the prize.

It's true, that April features some of the best horizontal gravity of the year.

Sometimes it is one of the ubiquitous brown Carsonite signs that succumbs to horizontal gravity, despite their remarkable durability:

And don't think this carsonite site was bent by a truck. A video would have shown it vibrating in the wind, like a tuning fork. The point of these two pictures is to show you that I am not a crybaby about what I call 'cruel.'

June, not April, is the cruelest month; I am not referring to arid heat and scalding sunlight so much as to the cruelty of being tantalized with a bit of cloud cover in late June. 

It seems like a miracle to look up into the deathly rictus of the sky [1] and see anything other than a monotonous, life-draining, blue-white glare. 

And then you make the crucial mistake: you get greedy and start hoping for rainfall. It usually takes a couple weeks of this sadistic sky-tease before any drops of water will actually fall.

And then another miracle happens: I am, once again, able to wear (sockless) sandals in this ghastly climate, and that cools a person off by 5 to 10 F. For years, my heels would crack painfully and bleed when I wore sandals for more than a couple days. Naked toes are wonderful! 

But Southwesterners really should invent some sort of religious ritual to celebrate the first real rainfall of the year. Let's see: wasn't it (?) in "Elmer Gantry" that old-fashioned tent revivals were portrayed, with people wailing and gnashing their teeth, barking like dogs, or falling down into the dirt, rolling around, and speaking in tongues. That would be a good start. 

Perhaps they should keep going with public orgies while rolling in the mud, or animal sacrifices, or even human sacrifices. [2] There are a few tourists that I would be willing to offer up to the gods.

[1] Plagiarism warning. This expression came from Bernard Cornwell's "The Saxon Tales."

[2] Or think of the episode in Star Trek (Original Series), "Return of the Archons." At the gong announcing the "Red Hour," a society showing vacant contentment immediately switched into riotous festival mode.


Ed said…
Elmer Gantry was sure enough an evangelist. But it was Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) that was the Rainmaker with Lizzie Curry (Katharine Hepburn).

Your picture of the carsonite post reminded me of the Wyoming wind sock
Ed, Wyoming windsock, eh? That is a good one.

Actually, the photo is of a southern AZ windsock, pretty close to your old haunt.
Ed, just read up on The Rainmaker on IMDB. I usually get a kick out of Burt Lancaster, but there is something about Katherine Hepburn that never appealed. A commentary track once said that movie producers considered her "box office poison," and a guess I fit into that scenario.

Anyway, I wish I had a chance to watch the movie.
XXXXX said…

The RainMaker is a great movie. Only Burt Lancaster with that wide smile could ever have played such a character so well.
Katherine Hepburn was very well cast in this movie. The Burt Lancaster character saw only beauty in her, something she could not see in herself. But because of his influence, she could finally see her own beauty.
The Burt Lancaster character could never see anything but beauty anywhere in his life.

It's a bit like "Life is Beautiful" if you've ever seen that one. Not from any other perspective though than the one of seeing beauty in life.