Beware of Giant Beetles, Pray for Rain


It can’t go on forever, this heat that’s been pressing in for days, the summer the locals warned you about, but it continues day after day after day.

You spend half a day on the bathroom floor with your cheek pressed to the cool tile, replenishing with ice-cold coconut water and fantasizing about tree moss, babbling brooks, and other signs of moisture.

The AC is not the great savior it’s purported to be even though it’s on 24/7.

Sleeping is tough — the heat and hormones racing your thoughts, making you feel slightly and possibly totally mad. It doesn’t seem to matter that you take 11 supplements of one form or another daily, including a heaping teaspoon of Calm magnesium at night, which has never failed to calm you, until now.

This is not the Tucson you fell in love with, of spring cactus blooms, cottontail bunnies, and warm not hot nights.

You buy a fancy hydration belt with two, 10-ounce bottles, refillable with electrolyte-laced, filtered water because you’ve seen the rust deposits in your dish drainer. But now the idea of walking, let alone running in the evening when it’s supposedly cooler seems a little ridiculous. No wonder the locals are up at the crack of dawn, exercising.

One night, a giant black beetle pays you a visit. It may actually be four inches long but it looks like at least six inches, crawling on your outside window screen.

Naturally you scream then text your landlord —inquiring about this creature, not cute like the geckos that come every night, not cute at all but looking like something out of a horror movie.

He informs you it’s the harmless, light-seeking Palo Verde Beetle — a symbol of good luck announcing the arrival of the monsoon season.

Harmless or not, you check the front door screen before opening it, looking over your shoulder as you walk to the bins with the kitchen trash. You hear him, you’re sure it’s the same beetle— it sounds like he’s brought along his friends —  they’re making an ominous clicking noise behind the bins. You run back into the house, trash un-dumped.

When you tell the dog, “This place ain’t for sissies,” he looks at you with those sweet eyes and says, “No shit, Sherlock.”

Your younger sister is a 17-year veteran of the desert who once decapitated a rattlesnake with a garden shovel to protect her family. She says you’re having a normal reaction, why do you think some many people flee the state every June.

The obvious hits you: You’re not as rugged as you like to think you are.

You tell yourself, just hold out for the monsoons.

But so far all you’ve felt are three drops while walking the dog at 10 o’clock at night, still too hot for you and the rain, to fall.

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