Monsoon Moisture

Shelley and Madie drenched

Today I got drenched doing the pony shuffle. I had tied the three ponies with full stomachs to the trailer and had unloaded Restar Mountain Shelley III and Willowtrail Spring Maiden into the pasture. Bowthorne Matty had warned me that something unusual was about to happen, since when I tied her to the trailer, she looked immediately and intently into the distance, but I couldn’t figure out what she was looking at.

After I secured the pasture gate, I went to get Willowtrail Winter Lad to load him into the trailer. Just as we stepped into the trailer, the skies opened. Laddie was dry, but by the time I had Matty and her daughter Willowtrail Liberty loaded, we were all three soaked. I’ve never gotten so wet in so little time, soaked to the skin through coat and shirt and jeans in less than sixty seconds. My dog Sadie gave me an idea of how I must have looked as she looked up at me from her soaked coat with eyes that asked if we could please get in the truck as quickly as possible.

The ponies couldn’t decide whether they were better off tied outside the trailer where pea-sized raindrops were pelting them – some that were slushy – or whether being in the trailer where it was dry was better despite the deafening sound of the rain beating on the trailer roof. Madie in the pasture had her hind end to the storm and ears flattened, and if I’d been her, I’d have wondered why her mother hadn’t taken her to the shed to get out of the storm. Shelley, though, was intently grazing.

My husband mentioned in passing yesterday at lunch that we had entered a pattern of monsoon moisture. I assumed we’d have our typical summer thundershowers each afternoon that last fifteen minutes or so then clear out, leaving the ground wet but not saturated. Late yesterday afternoon there was our first indication that things might be different when we got a quarter inch, mostly from a single severe shower. Overnight we got another three-tenths.

I have been watching the Michigan River where it passes an irrigation ditch headgate at summer pasture. Two days ago I noticed that the river was finally beginning to drop after a prolonged ‘spring’ runoff. It was still above the highest level I’ve ever seen the river, and it’s really unusual to be so high so late. Today’s storm caused the river not only to rise but to exceed the highest level I’ve seen so far. It will be awhile before I let the ponies get anywhere near it; by this time most years we’re wading it together. It’s clear the monsoon moisture that has been forecast is different than anything I’ve ever experienced, which seems to be the theme of the weather for 2011 so far.

© Jenifer Morrissey, 2011

About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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