"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The word "monsoon"

"Monsoon weather," 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. paper

love the word "monsoon," especially in the mountains and high deserts of New Mexico and the Southwest.

It means billowing thunderheads, blue-gray and infinite in shapes and power, especially over the mountains. bringing life and relief in July and August.

Today's watercolor tries to approximate that, as I long for rain and clouds and far vistas...water for this parched part of the Great Plains. I will keep trying...watercolor is perfect for these times.

I still have work to capture the beauty of them, more blue, more gray, but as I keep dreaming of rains and a break from the heat, here it is.

Here is the origin of the word, from the online etymology dictionary:

1580s, "alternating trade wind of the Indian Ocean," from Dutch monssoen, from Portuguese monçao, from Arabic mawsim "time of year, appropriate season" (for a voyage, pilgrimage, etc.), from wasama "he marked." The Arabic word, picked up by Portuguese sailors in the Indian Ocean, was used for anything that comes round every year (such as a festival), and was extended to the season of the year when the monsoon blows from the southwest (April through October) and the winds were right for voyages to the East Indies. In India, the summer monsoon is much stronger than the winter and was popularly spoken of emphatically as "the monsoon." It also brings heavy rain, hence the meaning "heavy episode of rainfall during the rainy season" (1747). Related: Monsoonal.

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