It’s been weeks since monsoon clouds dominated the sky, carrying precious moisture to parched lands from far-away seas. The size and shape of the clouds has dramatically shifted, from vertically building clouds to the fluffy cumulus style that always seem to remind me of The Simpsons.
This summer season of abundance is the main driving factor for natural life in the Madrean Archipelago ecological province of North America. Even though shifting winds have carried away our monsoon clouds, the cycle of profusion is still very much alive in the landscape.
The sudden cessation of rain immediately affected the vegetation. Without moisture, plants have a hard time continuing to grow. Annuals quickly went to seed and shriveled up, returning their nutrients to the earth. More established perennials follow a similar cycle, many with a more pronounced lag period. Some perennials continue to flower more than a month after the last rains of the season graced the earth.
The fauna who seem to be most obviously impacted by the sudden dry period are the insects who proliferated during monsoon season. Butterflies and moths desperately search for nectar in a dry landscape. But resources are dwindling. And the impact can be felt throughout the food chain.
Migrating birds feed on the cornucopia of Lepidoptera that depend on the summer rains. It reminds me of a type of gas station along the migration corridor for these traveling species. I feel grateful to have a glimpse into the beautiful synchronicity that has evolved within this landscape over time. Being able to experience the natural order makes me wonder what role I play in this seasonal cycle. If I do at all.