Posts Tagged With: summer heat

Lizard Breath

We’re gearing up for the onslaught of summer’s heat here in Phoenix. Not a fun prospect, but ways do exist to survive and thrive or at least laugh a little about it.

For instance I snapped this photo last week of a little wall lizard on the outside of my screen door. (I’m sure they have an actual name but I don’t know what it is.)

"Let me in, I'm melting, I'm melting!"

“Let me in, I’m melting, I’m melting!”

 

These little guys are out in force during the summer. From what I can tell they feed on crickets, mostly around the brick walls that encircle and isolate homes in the suburbs.

They don't hold still very long. I was lucky to snap this shot at all.

They don’t hold still very long. I was lucky to snap this shot at all.

My favorite thing to see them do, besides scurrying about is push ups. Yes, they do push ups a la Jack Lalanne. I’m sure it has something to do with heat regulation, or optimizing the shade their bodies create or maybe they’re just into physical fitness. I’ll try to get some video one of these days. Until then you’ll have to rely on your imagination.

The lizards are quite small. Nose to tail they’re only about five inches long.

There are, from a quick google search, approximately sixty lizard species in Arizona. As far as I can tell, I’ve seen one kind. Not so sure I want to meet any of the other kinds. A little too Jurassic Park if you ask me.

What a friendly face.

What a friendly face.

The Geico gecko sounds like a good conversationalist with some wit and snark and might be fun to do lunch with. I’m pretty sure he’s a California lizard, although his accent is tough to pinpoint. You know those Hollywood types…

Speaking of talking lizards, here’s a lizard joke for you. (Laughter is one of our ‘extreme heat’ coping mechanisms around here.)

The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later, a lizard walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the lizard’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!” “Not really,” said the lizard. “Your name is written inside the cover.” ~ jokes4us

Did you know lizards can regrow their tails? Yup. It’s a fact. I suppose that’s handy when your tail is as long as your body and tends to drag a bit. Cats, kids and birds all want to grab at you and they’re most likely going to snatch at your tail. That’s gotta sting a bit when it snaps off. I’m sure there’s some amazing biology involved in that whole process.

funny-lizard-bungee-jump

Don’t try this at home.

 

Sometimes I wonder if my cathartic laughter isn’t actually a little maniacal. The heat here wears on a person. Just the thought of the upcoming incessant thrumming of above one hundred five degree temperatures gives me a headache and makes me thirsty.

We haven’t hit the century mark yet, so I’m getting ahead of myself. Seventeen years here and I still haven’t figured out how to do the snow bird thing. That’d be nice. Or boring. Who wants the same weather year round anyway? Oh yeah, Floridians, Californians, Arizonans. Aliens.

randall

Have you ever wondered why so many aliens and monsters are depicted as lizards? Makes me go hmmmm.

I still consider myself a temporary transplant. One of these days I’m packing up and heading for a different climate. Until then, I’ll laugh a bunch and make the best of it here.

And I’ll keep a lookout for aliens, er, lizards.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Fun, Humor, phoenix | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weather, I Like It or Not

Tornado sirens keep going off in my head.

Nope, I don’t live in Oklahoma anymore.

All the noise and turmoil jostles me from the inside, mostly in my head, but my stomach seems involved as well. This happens sometimes in the summer, at least it does here in the desert.

Maybe my body and brain attempt to hibernate like those frogs from around here that emerge for a brief season and then burrow underground until the next wet season. Unfortunately that’s not an option for we humanoids.

English: cloud and rain, weather forecast symbol

Cloud and rain, weather forecast symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hibernating sounds delightful doesn’t it? Sleep for three to five months while the land bakes, crackles, pulls away from the edges and curls up in tight little fists. I’m certain this climate wasn’t intended for human consumption. Look at how many hoops we have to jump through to make it habitable. Miles of canals, cavernous wells, refrigerated air, draining a river dry before it reaches its final destination.

Clearly the heat plays its games with my neurons, my electrolytes, my sense of well-being. Surely I’m a snow bird with a need to fly north with the spring winds, then waft back on southern breezes during the winter months. Can someone please tell my bank account about my true nature and needs? Being stuck here in 110 plus degrees turns me into a pillar of salt as I look back at all the moderate, temperate, reasonable places we’ve lived. Even twenty below winters sound mild in comparison to this silliness.

I recently spent three weeks up north in cooler country, admittedly mostly indoors. But, it was still gloriously cool in the evenings, reasonable in the daytime, tolerable any time. So, coming back to the desert has thrown my body into conniptions.

I’d forgotten that taking a walk any later than eight in the morning might result in a daylong headache. It had slipped my mind that stepping outdoors for a breath of fresh air might not smell the least bit fresh. Burnt and over baked and ozonated, yes, but fresh, no. I had easily let the hard truth of endless summer filter out of my consciousness.

Stepping off the plane into the physical onslaught of oppressive heat, even in the relative shelter of the temporary hallway from plane to terminal, left me feeling drained of energy and instantly tired. My very cell remembered, even if my head forgot, that desert summers suck the life out of a person. Literally and figuratively.

Sorry for being such a downer today. The transition has been a brutal one. And that’s WITH a great air conditioning system.

This time of year the seven-day forecast teasingly shows pictures of clouds with raindrops. Then, in the fine print below the cloud something like “10%” or “20%” shows up. They call that a chance of rain. I call it teasing. I call that false advertising. In fact, it’s downright mean.

English: A example of Cumulus congestus which ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many mornings I wake to billowing cloud formations tinged in pinks and corals with a promise of moisture in the air. I’ve learned not to fall for the ploy. Late afternoons do something similar with huge plumes of clouds over the distant mountains taunting and laughing with the potential of a downpour. The clouds lift to dizzying heights, establish an anvil shape and collapse into a dry, hot wind and then disappear.

I think straight blue sky is easier to take than those pretender clouds. At least with blue you know where you stand. Heat, all day, no matter what.

Sure, someday the cool weather will arrive. Someday after Halloween usually. And by cool I mean high temperatures that don’t breach the one hundred degree Fahrenheit mark.

Kids come out of the woodwork on a day where the temps are under one hundred. It’s the jackpot, the lalapalooza, the signaling of the end of cabin fever days stuck inside with recirculated air and inactivity. I can hardly wait to see frisbees soaring, lacrosse sticks flying, children on the playground, night games in the park and pickup football scrimmages.

Even more I look forward to planting my fall/winter garden.

It’ll happen. Eventually.

Until then I watch.

I wait.

I hope for rain.

Categories: Mental Health, Nature, Outdoors, The World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Thousand Different Colors in One

Baja California Desert in the Cataviña region,...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once in a while the incessant heat of the desert southwest surprises me. Those incredible dust storms that approach like something out of an apocalyptic movie! Skies that sometimes open up as if Niagara Falls has been rerouted directly overhead! Lightening that flashes then becomes the sound of the earth cracking open and rolling in an ominous wave of booming vibrations.

And there’s sometimes a rare day of soft misty rain that lightens the air and sets the scent of creosote wafting about. Not at all desert-like in its gentleness.

You see, the desert seems made of extremes. Incredibly hot in the daytime, even in the winter, and chill you to the bone coldness at night. Then Summer sends its death rays beating down, threatening any and all. Even summer nights press in and slow bake a person to a parched muddled mess.

20130731-154317.jpg

Desert Sage blooming like gang-busters.

Just lately, in the past day or two, and for a week or more, the desert sends surprise gifts to those who are paying attention. Venturing down almost any road you’ll see bursts of lavender and purple, nearly iridescent and glowing with saturated color. Desert Sage has popped and fills a bush to overflowing masses of tiny buds, almost completely obscuring the green bush it grows from.

Other flowers are blooming, just not in the shouting, hog the limelight way that the sage is doing. The purples act like highlighter on a page, pointing out the good stuff, the memorable, the positive.

Every plant sighs out a breath of beauty, a whisper of hope, a mantra for life.

Seeing such abundance amidst the oppressive center of summer provides an emotional cooling. Amazing what a bit of color can do for the soul.

What colors light up your day? Do you even pay attention to the colors around you? Or is your life all black and white and gray? The unique narrator in Markus Zusak’s YA novel The Book Thief sees life in colors beyond imagining. (Read it and thank me later!)

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear

that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment.

A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues.

Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”— Markus Zusak

Desert Sage Bloom

Desert Sage Bloom (Photo credit: lowjumpingfrog)

I think I need to open my eyes more often to the color and variety of everything around me. It’s easy not to notice. It takes some conscious thought to pay attention and see the extraordinary in the everydayness around us.

“Every hour can consist of a thousand different colors” he says. I’m not sure I could count that many in one hour. Perhaps I, too, need to make it a point to notice them.

The purple will serve as my reminder this week, to open my eyes and really see.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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