Desert’s Dog Days of Summer
Are you tired of being hot and sweaty? Yep, it’s summer. The salty droplets stream down your face at the slightest movement, and a cold beer or one of those frosty, fruity drinks with the colorful umbrella, punctuate Happy Hour.
Of course, there are those who live year-round in sweltering climes … and if doomsday futurists’ predictions of global warming manifest, we’d better start acclimating our bods now. As the world temperature rises, your buzzword for the week is …
XERIC (zirʹik) adj. – of, pertaining to, or having dry or desert-like conditions. [WW #123]
Even if we’re forced to master conditions the likes of Death Valley, it may not be that bad. As their website says, “Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.”
Its mountains are draped in winter snow, wildflowers come with rare rainstorms, and pockets of its vastness cultivate small oases for humans and wildlife to enjoy.
Most of us learned about the driest of all US national treasures, through history books recounting harrowing adventures of our pioneering ancestors. Most famously, the “Lost 49ers” seeking that shiny metal on which our country’s monetary system is built.
Yep, the Gold Rush of 1849 gave Death Valley its name, by a wayward group of families who followed a ne’er-do-well’s “shortcut” to California. After splintering off a couple of times, losing men, mules, and wagons, those who made it through the valley, bid a not-so-fond-farewell to “Death Valley.”
Deserving of its intimidating name, DV still holds the record of 134 d. Fahrenheit, for the hottest day on Earth, July 10, 1913.*
Take heart. If you want to know how to survive when our icecaps no longer cool the oceans, take a trip to Death Valley and learn your dry-life skills… and take LOTS of water.
Word Challenge: XERIC. Are you discovering new ways to alleviate the summer’s xeric conditions in your life? Cheers to a “dry” martini, as you fit xeric into your week of refreshing writings.
* For ninety years, a Libyan city held the record at two-plus degrees hotter. A dispute in 2012 resulted in an investigation which determined that taking the temperature over asphalt rather than native soil, disqualified it. The record was returned to Death Valley.
Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle)