Thursday, July 31, 2008

Never Doubt the Purple Sage

Summer is flying by and I'm playing catch-up. It seems like summer just started and we're already going into August. June flew by because we kept Anevay. She attended Summer Safari Classes at the zoo where she learned about different classes of animals and their habitats. July has flown by because of the weather. It started off with a bang when 6.17 inches of rain officially fell in Brownsville during the first 8 days of the month. Some parts of the city received over 10 inches. We quickly returned to the hot, dry weather pattern we're accustomed to in Brownsville but the unusual rain event made everyone happy and made for great conversation.

Fast forward to the evening of July 16th. Darlene and I attend the Summer Social at the zoo. We enjoy a wonderful Cajun supper and casually chat with friends. As the event begins to wind down and folks begin to leave, we spot Carol, one of our favorite people in the world. Carol is a local artist, a noted naturalist and absolutely one of the nicest ladies I've ever met. We all chat about this and that before the conversation turns to the heavy rain event earlier in the month. At some point during the conversation, Carol nonchalantly says, "we'll have another heavy rain soon, the purple sage is blooming". I absorb the information but never follow through with any questions about how this weather proverb originated. However, during the next few days, everywhere I look, purple sage is blooming, including the one I have in a pot in our back yard.

Fast forward to July 20th. Darlene and I are in Hope to celebrate her mom's birthday. I'm gathering oak limbs to use in my eyelash viper cages when Darlene walks out and hands me my cell phone. The voice on the other end is Rob, our intern from work. He tells me about "Dolly" a storm that has quickly formed in the northwest Caribbean and is forecast to make landfall near the mouth of the Rio Grande River around Wednesday. We gather our belongings and around noon, begin the drive back to Brownsville.

Fast forward to Wednesday, July 23rd. Dolly, now a Category 2 hurricane, makes landfall just north of Brownsville. Her slow forward motion of 7 mph is our worst nightmare. Over 7 inches of rain falls in Brownsville (officially 7.02) while other parts of the county receive up to 18 inches. Most of the mid and lower Valley easily receive over 8 inches of rainfall. Even today, some areas are still under water.

Weather lore has been around forever. As a child, I clearly remember my father saying, "if the sun sets behind a bank of clouds on Sunday, it'll rain before Wednesday". More times than not, he was right. When I was in the Navy, it was common to hear, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky at morn, sailor take warn". I never quite figured that one out. If weather lore is to be believed, July is a good example of how Mother Nature can predict the weather and how we should look for the clues. I know from now on, I'll pay close attention to the purple sage!