The Great Deluge

As we've mentioned, we happen to be (mostly) living in a boxcar currently. This boxcar is 9 feet wide by 40 feet long. Five people, plus most of their belongings -- beds, dressers, clothes, books, muddy shoes, stuffed monkeys, etc.

New Mexico is having a particularly rainy summer... in fact, the first rainy summer since 1997. We call these --out here in the desert -- the "summer monsoons." (Which seems silly, considering that "monsoon" means in this case about 4 inches of rain in a month).

During the summer monsoons, the pattern is for clear, sunny mornings and big booming thunderstorms in the afternoon and hail and downpours that create new arroyos and wash out roads.

So, this afternoon, I went over to Picuris Pueblo to talk to a woman about the Pueblo's Feast Day tomorrow (for a story for the local newspaper). She invited me in, told me about the tribe's patron saint (St. Lawrence), gave me a loaf of pueblo bread (white flour, yeast, water and lard) and sent me home. The pueblo is about 10 miles from our house and I headed uphill, because we were planning to go to the farmer's market in Dixon that afternoon.

As I was leaving the Pueblo, I saw it: The stormcloud. From where I was, that many miles away, I could see the solid curtain of rain coming out of an ominously dark thunderhead. Avrum was, I knew, at home with Ella and Silas, as well as their friend Anna Soma.

"Hmm," I thought. "That curtain of rain looks like it might be... right over our house."

As I got closer to home, the sky opened up. As I passed our garlic field on the right, a mile away, I could hardly see the car in front of me and the road as it turned to gravel also turned to a river. I turned onto our road and the car fishtailed in the mud. I turned into our driveway and the driveway was under a good six to eight inches of water.

"Wow," I said as I splashed into the house, where I found the family huddled in the computer room. Avrum said it had been raining like this for half an hour.

I decided to head down to the boxcar to see if the doors were closed-- that is not really the type of thing Avrum thinks about. So I went down and sure enough, the doors were open. I hopped up into the boxcar, and sighed -- my nice faux-leather chair was all wet. There was a big puddle on the tile floor. And then, I looked in the direction of our bed, above which is a nice skylight through which we can see the stars. And I noticed something strange: There seemed to be rain coming in through the skylight. Onto the bed. Onto the bed and onto the two baskets of neat, clean, folded laundry (clean laundry is worth its weight in gold in a household without running water). Onto the bed, the laundry and... the kid's bookcase.

As it turned out, the storm blew a skylight off our boxcar and an inch of rain-- which fell in 45 minutes-- came right in and made itself at home.

Although it took us hours to clean, the only permanent damage was about 12 books that had to be tossed. The bed dried. The laundry was hung the next morning in the inevitable sunshine.


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