New Mexico Monsoons

The Beauty of Thunderhead Clouds

August brings something invaluable to New Mexico- Monsoons.

This is one of the best times of year in the desert. Monsoon season brings renewal and refreshment to the parched land, but it also brings the magnitude of nature and potential danger. Maybe that is why it is so awe-inspiring. On fact remains true; New Mexicans look forward to it.

The summer in New Mexico is full of dry, oppressive heat. The land aches under the relentless sun, the ground cracks and retracts from itself, and the succulent plants draw off their remaining reserves of hydration. During the peak heat of summer swamp coolers are rendered useless and people and animals alike seek out shade and restful activities.

Every day feels hot and still; the blanket of summer smothers ambition. Rivers and lakes begin to dry, pulling away from their muddy shores. The growing season slows down as the summer harvest is finished and the fall and winter harvest have not begun. This time is to rest and prepare for the coming season.

thunderhead, thunderhead clouds, new mexico
Thunderhead Clouds

And then, one day in the late summer, heavy gray clouds begin moving in and block out the sun.

The wind begins to pick up and the temperature drops considerably.

It’s amazing how quick the day can turn from bright and hot to dark and foreboding.

As the wind blows these thunderhead clouds across the vista, the anticipation can be felt in the air. It’s electric. Energy is roiling and hairs on arms and necks stand on end. Without warning- Crack!!


Thunder and lightning are the harbingers of precepitation and come on suddenly. Following closely behind is the smell of rain. There is a sense of expectation from the earth itself. Life exists in a state of suspended animation…

With the flip of a heavenly switch the floodgates of the skies open and rain pours forth. Fat, cool drops splash to the ground at an alarming rate creating a rhythmic thud-thud-thud. The booms of thunder and the cracks of lightening provide an impressive backing track. Rain pounds on the rooftops, creates rivulets in the dry dirt, and swells the arroyos to their breaking point. The water comes so quickly and with such ferocity it can’t be absorbed. The excess runoff causes flash floods and mudslides, and these effects reinforce the power of nature and how little effect we have on it all.

Monsoons: magnificent and overwhelming.

Beautiful Thunderhead Stationary, Mouse Pads & More!

Some time later the thunderhead moves on; blows toward a new destination. As the last wisps of rain clouds disappear over the horizon, beams of sunlight touch down on a revived landscape. Nothing compares to the smell of wet New Mexican dirt. It is so fresh, so musky, and so absolutely delicious it’s incomparable.

For now, Terra Firma is swollen with water, revitalized and prepped for the cycle of life to continue its steady march onward.

That is the beauty of monsoons in New Mexico.