Chubasco!

July 19, 2007

circle pictograph

This is one of several mysterious pictographs in a rockhouse near the Gila River.  The outer circle is pinkish-white clay or possibly chalk (caliche).  The black circle is actually dark purple and is probably magnetite sand.  The red circle is, of course, hematite (red ochre).  The green is malachite (copper ore).  Upon close examination, it appears that the center of the circle was originally black.  All the pigments could have been collected at the same place, and perhaps the picture means nothing more than that – a simple geologic diagram.  Perhaps it represents the earth, or a spring, or an eye, or mabye it denotes ownership.  Such a basic design, universal and intensely personal at the same time, can surely mean many things.  I offer it here as a cenote – a well or spring – for inspiration.

Tonight we had the real thing – a true Sonoran chubasco, or wild monsoon storm!  This one may indeed be the “magic rain” that brings out the sapos (spadefoot toads), makes several species of cacti bloom and wildflowers grow, and revives the ferns.  In the nearby hills, the washes are running (water pouring over granite outcrops, swirling around mesquite roots, and fanning the sand into new patterns).  Today was hot and sunny, well over 100.  At sunset, dark yellowish-gray clouds swirled over the mountains and a huge dust cloud roared off the bulldozed desert just west of here.  Then a blacker cloud arose and completely swallowed the sunset – lightning travelling ahead of the rain had ignited a grass fire.  Finally the rain arrived, blowing fiercely horizontal at first, later falling calm and steady.  (Somewhere tonight, someone will stumble into a wash and be lost in a torrent.  Somewhere tonight, lives are saved at the last minute – desert wanderers are huddled in a saguaro grove, hiding from the lightning, rain washing heat and fear from their faces and mingling with tears of relief.)  Now it is fully dark, with a pleasant drizzle and still some rumbling and flashing that may continue all night as the storm cells bounce around the mountains.  The air smells like wet smoke, aromatic desert plants, damp earth, and most of all, like RAIN.

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2 Responses to “Chubasco!”

  1. Hemera said

    How old are the pictographs? They look interesting. Any idea about who has made them?
    (Lorena, I sent you pm earlier.. I have a few tiny stones that I´d like to send you..:))

  2. Karin said

    Caliche is the name given in the North of Chile (Atacama) to natural saltpeter.

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