Traditional start of monsoon season at Luis Gutierrez Bridge


Check out the solar art alignment today at precisely 10:45 a.m. at the Luis G. Gutierrez bridge (formerly Cushing Street bridge, west of I-10, north of Riverpark Inn).

Discovery date: JULY 3, 10:45AM – Traditional start of the Tucson monsoon season

As for what happens on the bridge, at 10:45 a.m. the sun will shine through the overhead cut out canopy of saguaro cacti harvesting (see image below courtesy of photographer Charity Bidegain) onto the engraving on the floor of the bridge. The bridge was designed by architect/solar designer Dave Dobler and public artist  Brenda Semanick, and was dedicated in October, 2012.


Here’s what’s engraved in stone on the bridge:

“July 3rd of each year historically marks the first day of the summer monsoon rain storms. For generations the Tohono O’odham have harvested the saguaro fruit (Ha:san Bahidaj) using long poles made from Saguaro ribs. The fruit is used to make a wine that is consumed during the rain ceremony (Nawait I’i) that occurs during the monsoon season”.

More info at the FB page:

Chance of rain predicted today is 30%, so the monsoons may be starting on time.  Be there if it rains to enjoy the monsoons over the Santa Rita wash (and especially if it’s sunny to see this solar alignment).

Solar alignment complete at last year's viewing, courtesy of Charity Bidegain
Solar alignment complete at last year’s viewing, courtesy of Charity Bidegain

And if you miss this solar event, stay tuned for the next one on August 20 at 9:30 a.m., to mark Tucson’s Birthday. There are 12 solar alignments throughout the year marking other historic discovery dates at this bridge, all listed on their FB page.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


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