Desert Rain

Vernacular: street “cred”:
A trip int the heart of the borderland drags out comparisons. Memories, too. I’ve lived most my life Texas-New Mexico-Arizona. Mostly Texas, but enough desert, high desert, low desert to qualify.

Sunday night, a big thunderstorm blew through. Rumors of tornados in West Texas spread through the rank and file.

Coming out of the restaurant, on the east side of El Paso, I stopped and stared, then sauntered over to talk to two cooks, lounging on the covered porch, smoking cigarettes, “Where are we,” I asked, “El Paso, right?”


“Just checking. What is this?”


“Just checking.”

It was raining on the south side of the porch. It was raining on the east side. The car was parked on the north side. Rain stopped at north edge of the porch.

“Tornados out on the desert sir, all the telephone lines are down”

(Austin’s The Gourds from Bolsa de Aqua)

There’s a smell, a certain aroma, the smell of dust, in the air, the fragrant and aromatic blend of wet and dust. That’s my street credit. I recognize and appreciate that smell, the aroma of desert as the rain starts. It’s like creosote. It’s like mud, but with winds whipping around, it’s more like an earthen fragrance, maybe a little ozone from the flash of lightening.

“The lord is speaking loud and clear tonight.” (As the song goes.)