The monsoon this year has been just capital. After a few years of fizzling storms that didn't deliver much moisture, the Rillito River actually looked like a river for much of the summer, rather than its usual state as a 15-foot-deep, 100-yard-wide dry ditch. Monster storms at the end of July had it running bankful. We were drawn to the edges to gawk at All That Water.
I set out last week along the river path to enjoy the last bit of gurgling water sounds. Evidence of the water's depth and power were still evident everywhere, with tree branches and uprooted desert broom wrapped head-high around power poles and bridge supports.
This cottonwood was putting out new leaves like mad, oblivious to the debris wrapped around its trunk.
A few days ago the same walk was weirdly quiet, unaccompanied by the soothing water sounds that had been surprisingly easy to get accustomed to. Except for a few patches of damp sand and mud shaded by bushes laid low by the now-gone torrent, the riverbed was dry, littered with rocks, brush, the occasional shoe, the odd shopping cart. Water is a marvelous sculptor and painter, shaping the bed and dropping different sizes of sediment as its velocity decreases and its trajectory is changed by the very mud it itself changes.
I thought they were fascinating, anyway, these wet little moonscapes doomed to crumble in the sun. I'll leave you with four of them (oh, only four pictures of flippin' mud? yes, I am cruel).