Hail! The rain! Riders on bikes! Riders on the wind!

Ain’t that a treat?!

Hell Hail yes!

Hail being the operative word there. 😉

I arise this morning — if 11:45 in the a.m. can still be called morning — to a booming male voice over the PA announcing names of bike riders as they presumably cross the finish line.

The Epic Whiskey Off-Road bike races are in town for the 15th year in a row. Prescott’s bursting at the seams with riders, their friends and families, from around the country and world who’ve descended on our little town of 40,000 for three days of serious competitive riding, fun spins, brews and blues.

Downtown’s Whiskey Row is where the action begins and ends so it’s been quite the scene these past three days with foreigners (aka anyone not local 🙂 ) verily overtaking these eateries, shops, cafes, bars, hotel rooms, streets. Prescott rakes in oodles of cash during this extended weekend of riding, entertainment and partying.

I’m with popular opinion here. I welcome their business and money and don’t want ’em to stay. Today’s the last day so not much longer until the town’s back to normal. Locals, myself included, tend to be quite protective of this place. That’s another post.

I live about two blocks behind the courthouse, the emblematic and literal center of history and activity in Courthouse Square and the surrounding famed Whiskey Row with its multitude of bars, shops and eateries.

That’s where the action is and hence the loudspeaker’s been an integral part of my life of late! 🙂

Ditto road closures, detours, parking rearrangements and other requirements to accommodate thousands of riders and spectators filling up the Square.

There’ve been inconveniences, sure. Like the other day when I was driving home. Rather, trying to. I wasn’t aware the road closures were to be set up that afternoon, hence blocking a direct path from A to B, my apartment.

So I just keep following the detours. Turning right when I really need to turn left. Watching in my rear-view mirror as my apartment falls further away rather than approaching. Through the maze, I discover at last the sole access through the back alley. Some 10 minutes of sidewinding detours and an added mile on the odometer later, haha.

Where I’m heading is that today I arise accompanied by the blasting PA system a short pair of blocks away.

And looming dark gray clouds. Clouds thick with a downpour, perhaps even a thunderstorm, moving this direction from the west. Whether they’ll skirt us or drench us, only time will tell.

And as reliable Father Time is wont to do, he does tell us. He arrives hand-in-hand with Mother Nature, who dumps from her colossal bag glistening wet gemstones upon a drought-stricken land.

Rain!

Or so I think.

I watch the view from this here perch on a small hill disappear into a blurry gray. I listen to the crowd’s cheers and that booming voice across the PA system vanish. Simply up and vanish!

I listen to the rain gently tap-tap-tapp upon the metal awning right above the window here where I type. Then tap-tap-tap turns into TAP-TAP-TAP, unabashedly.

Then TAP-TAP-TAP turns into pa-pa-pound … then PA-PA-POUNDING. A cacophony of unpracticed drummers beating their own drums … whenever! No heed paid to rhythm or melody.

A hard rain it is too! A serious rain! A burst of rain!

So I think, until I open the door.

Why, this isn’t rain at all! It’s hail!

Little balls of hail the size of spitballs we used to make in school. C’mon, fess up, you know you did! Pouring down all of a sudden on an otherwise temperate spring day!

They dance and pounce and bounce off the concrete walkway. Sail through the screens to land on the sills of opened windows. They collect on the land like so many concertgoers at an Aerosmith show.

Then just as quickly as they arrive, the hail goes bye-bye. Melted by ambient warmth. The clouds too continue their journey.

Streets and dry soil are wetted, albeit not for long. The Arizona sun’ll see to that.

Yet the smell lingers. That distinct and delightful scent of water, fallen upon us, gifted to us — us being every inhabitant of Earth, from the rocks to the flowers to the insects to the lakes … well, you get the picture.

Though I know it’s not true, I’d like to think that these thousands of bicyclists and visitors here more than their competitiveness, hardcore bicycling muscles, skills, friends, partying spirit and dollars.

I’d like to think they toted in these glorious showers. These good showers. These Sunday showers. Showers so needed in drought-y Arizona … Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, any day of the week’ll do!

I’m not a church-goer myself. However, I’m there for my own brand of a Sunday service … by being present as the clouds rolled in … believe it or not, round 2 is on its way as we speak! … listening to that hard hail and the soft rain.

Gratitude lies in the simplest things. It truly does. Those things that we “get for free” … are given to us … by Mother Nature.

We need not earn these pleasures (this I’m learning despite what my father taught me about having to earn everything, including my breath).

We need not earn these pleasures of simply present while the skies sink into gray and the birds scurry in flight ahead of the storm and the wind fiercely rocks the branches.

Just now, the next round’s arriving. Rain, not hail. Won’t last long. Still, that sound of water pounding a metal awning is music to my ears!

It’s not only riders on bicycles all about town. Plenty of riders on the wind to be seen too!

My awning serves as shelter for this one little guy … see him there through the screen? In nick of time too, this photo; seconds later, he takes off!

temporarily sheltering from the storm

temporarily sheltering from the storm

Shower’s pouring. Wait! Is he back?! Or is that a feathered friend?!

working “undercover” from the storm

Sunday treats for sure. Ain’t life’s moments amazing?

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