June. It hasn't rained since Easter (when it snowed for the first time in decades).

Hot mountains shimmer in the waves of dry, hot air. It looks like there could not possibly be any life on that mass of hot rock. What vegetation remains is brittle and brownish. Temperatures reach 105 in the shade by noon.

Hot, cloudless blue skies. If it is possible for blue to be 'hot' then this is what it looks like. Merciless, a perfectly white-hot sun moves above.

The cactus are dry. Shriveled, like beef jerky.

The hummingbirds defend what food sources they can find. There is no playfulness in their chase. Not during June.

If you are lucky a little breeze might come up out of the East in the late afternoon. Hot and dry. If you're not lucky it'll be a strong wind, blowing dust in your face, punishing the already-weary plant and animal life.

July somehow arrives.

And then it rains! Monsoon! Beautiful, violent afternoon storms. The plants are smiling again! They swell up, gulping the water as fast as they can. And it rains again the next day, and the next. The plants gulp up water so quickly they often break under their new weight. No worry--these desert survivors will just tap new roots.

July and August are hot, but June is the harshest.

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