Forecasting the Arizona Monsoon
Because he thinks he can, a blind man
climbs Mount Everest, challenges feats
of extraordinary men who had shamed
strong-winged birds accustomed to heights.
On that note, what prompts me
to disregard my cursed affliction,
discard my wife’s objection and climb a wobbly
ladder? Oh, I could tell you about my malady--
But not now, for I must venture onto the roof
and tag the wind--the shifty, shifting wind.
“I think I can; I think I can,”
wheezes the little steam locomotive
that huffs and puffs inside my head,
and I set one foot on the tall ladder’s
first rung. I am on a mission:
to prove the TV weatherman wrong.
“Clear sky, no clouds, no precipitation,
and it’s the same outlook for tomorrow,”
so he said.
Windbag! Liar, liar! I sense rain!
True, “If fleecy white clouds cover the heavenly
way, no rain should mar your outdoor plans today.”
but that “Pretty Weather Boy” is soooo wrong!
Cumulus congestus clouds tower in the south,
the ache in my joints predicts coming rain, and
my ringing inner ear is the barometer I can trust.
But does intuition make me a professional forecaster?
I need data to back up my gut feelings.
Until today, I gauged wind directions by holding
a wet finger into the wind, and estimated
its speed by observing swaying tree branches
and other vegetation. But now—I must mount
an anemometer on the roof.
“Careful! Don’t be a fool,” she says,
but I cast my wife’s valid concerns
into the rising breeze. The ladder
sways beneath spasmodic legwork
of someone who ought to avoid high places.
Now exposed to growing turbulence, on the roof
I am a weathercock turning into the wind.
Even my tallest cypress yields to such strong
persuasion, but this fool resists—and so I sway—
and smile at those first falling raindrops.
(Word from below: “I’m receiving data . . . .”)
“Beam me down, Scotty,” I quip, yet pray
for the agility of a younger man to safely
make my way down— But, if not—
at least there’ll be a record of the force
and direction of those wily gusts
that blew me—toolbox and all—
off the roof.
Note: for the record, yesterday, 7/16/2017, my retirement community received the first monsoon downpour (2.6 inches within 10 minutes) accompanied by 51 mph. gusts that uprooted trees, including my beloved 20 foot desert ocotillo. I'm all right, but will I be able to withstand a repeat of such a storm?