Coming from such a dry climate, we are extremely grateful for moisture and find it much more than refreshing and cleansing. We think of it as "holy water". To better explain the extent of our feelings, I refer friend of mine. To protect his identity, we will call him Ben. Anyway, Ben is drawn to rain-showers. No matter where he is or what he is doing, if moisture begins to fall he will walk out into the rainstorm, kick free of his footwear, turn his face and palms to the heavens and say a prayer of thanks while wiggling his toes in the mud. There was a time, in his younger years, when Ben would completely disrobe to express his gratitude. After an arrest and conviction for public indecency, a short stint in the local gulag and probation, Ben modified his communion with nature. Such is our love affair with rain.
Long ago, some of our other friends, Perry and his brother Ray, also had a fling with falling water, causing them to discover its power. It was mid-summer, hot as a pistol, and everything and everybody was sweltering. Toward the end of the day, the heat brought on a theatrical thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rain. Perry and Ray made a mad dash for Cow Canyon and the waterfalls they knew would appear at any moment. Scampering up through the jumble of rocks and brush at the base of the cliff, they regrouped in the catch basin of a slick rock pour-off. There they stood, anticipating a cooling summer shower. Above their red heads, the water ran swiftly across the roiled surface of the bluffs, gathering momentum as it came. What the boys realized all too late was that such waters sweep-up everything in their path and bring it along for the ride. Over the brink rushed the water, carrying with it mud, sticks and stones and every other thing that might break one's bones. I understand the experience was a real eye opener for them.
As kids Craig, Steve and I realized that rainfall filled the curious voids found in the local sandstone, so we would seek out those natural cavities and slip in to cool our heels and sunburned heads. If the water wasn't stagnant, it was fair game. Some of those potholes were as big as an upright surface sitting swimming pool, with sides tall and steep enough to trap the unwary. An old rope tied to a nearby boulder would usually suffice as an escape route, and it was rare indeed that one was too deep for three boys stacked feet to shoulders. There was a time or two when we would have to strip down to our whitey tighties, lay flat-out on the sandstone sides and inch up using fingers, toes and every square inch of exposed skin to grip the steep slope. You loose a little hide that way, but escape is generally assured.
Being born to a particular part of the country almost guarantees you will bond with it. Like a mother to her child, that connection is hard to break. This little river valley in the midst of the high desert has held Ben, Perry and Ray, my family and countless others to her rocky bosom. No matter where in the world we reside, we are Bluffoons and darn proud of it. As with the holy water that, albeit infrequently falls from the heavens, the sandstone, sage and red sands course through our veins.
With warm regards,
Barry, Steve, Priscilla and Danny; The Team
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