5 Sonoran Desert Seasons and 12 Desert Moons

Arizona seasons baffled me when I first moved here. No multicolored leaves in the fall, crisp apples followed by cold clear winter nights with bare branched trees. No crocuses peeking through snow in the spring. In October when weather is still in the high 90’s, storefronts display winter garb. Stores sell caramel apples in parking lots shimmering in the heat.

Wouldn’t it be nice to make your bedroom ceiling look like this?

Hot, You Must Be Joking Hot, Still Hot, Cold in the Morning and Facebook Bragging Warm.

Summer Sunsets plus Monsoon Clouds equals xoxox

I picked up a small $1.50 leaflet about the desert at Veteran’s Oasis Park shop on Lindsay and Chandler Heights. The pamphlet explains our seasons. We have the 5 Sonoran Desert seasons. They are: Spring, Dry Summer, Summer Monsoon, Fall and Winter.  Do you have botanical markers you rely on to usher in the seasons?

I found the Tohono O’odham Indians had a 12 seasons for the year, based on the moon. Challenge your family to come up with names for the seasons. Or try to match the Tohono O’odham name to the month.

I pulled over on a baking August evening to try to capture the beauty of the prestorm clouds. This is a faint reminder of how pretty it was.

The Tohono O’odham seasons are:

  1. January — No More Fat Moon
  2. Feburary –Grey Moon
  3. March — Green Moon
  4. April — Yellow Moon
  5. May — Painful Moon
  6. June –Saguaro Moon
  7. July — Rainy Moon
  8. August — Short planting moon
  9. September — Dry Grass Moon
  10. October — Small Rains Moon
  11. November — Pleasant Cold Moon
  12. December — Big Cold Moon


I found a reason to love Summer Monsoon season, the clammy, steamy stifling days of August are brilliant for cloud watching because we have moisture in the air for a change. It is easy to dislike August. I say take a look at the clouds in August. They are tremendous.I am in love with clouds. My favorite is the lenticular cloud. What gifts does the weather give to you?

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.
–Percy Bysshe Shelley

Saguaro Full Moon - Arizona

The moons of 2013 each have a name. Follow this link to learn more.

3 thoughts on “5 Sonoran Desert Seasons and 12 Desert Moons

  1. I have been living here most of my life and just learned about lenticular clouds. I still look forward to the sunrise every morning. There’s nothing like an Arizona sunrise. Thank you for the fresh perspective.


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