July Director’s Report
The clouds gathered as they do when there are monsoonal rains expected. First puffs and streaks of white against the brilliant blue sky. Then as though being swept together with a broom they move together and suddenly a large bank of white with the blue just peeking through now and again. The white edges slowly turn gray beginning at the horizon, slowly moving up across the white bank, and the sweat begins to trickle down one’s back as the humidity climbs. Those that live in the dry heat know how the changing humidity affects them and they retreat to cooler indoor places. Some wait till the first welcome drops of rain then retreat to safety to wait for the cool down that inevitably comes with the rain.
This scene has played out many times over the past few weeks of the Arizona monsoon season but, not everyone has a cooler indoor place to retreat to, or a dry place of safety. For many experiencing homelessness the extremes of weather are some of the greatest challenges they will face. At this time of year with temperatures climbing well into the 100’s a simple shade tree changes the temperature by at least 20 degrees and is a welcome relief … until the rain starts. Imagine having to carry everything you own with you in a backpack and a bag or two. Imagine being outside when that downpour happens. Not only the threat of lightning but the soaking rain that comes during the monsoon season. Imagine that canvas backpack becoming heavier as your clothing becomes soaked. Imagine the cookie that you saved from your lunch at the mission turning to rain soaked crumbs in the pocket. When the rain stops, the challenges aren’t done. You hope there is enough sunlight left to dry the clothing and shoes that you are wearing. You hope that you can find a safe place to spread out your blanket and remaining possessions to dry. If you are lucky enough to have been given a zip top bag to store important papers, those are dry but if not, you have to look to make sure your papers aren’t ruined. I think most of us forget the simple luxury of having a place to retreat from the weather, a safe place to keep important papers, pictures, and our cookies.
Remember, when people stop to use the awning of your store or business, you find a backpack tucked under some outside dry area, you see people running in the rain weighted down with all their possessions, to be kind. We are all simply trying to make it through another monsoon season as best we can.