I grew up in New England and traversed the globe with my family from Buenos Aires to Switzerland on annual treks and then on my own from India to years living and working in Tokyo, yet to this day I have never experienced any weather event so radically surprising and beautiful as the desert Monsoon downpour I experienced last July at Miraval.
Unlike New England storms where you can smell the electricity in the air and the humidity tighten around you, or the New York City urban storm celebration vibe, a Sonoran desert monsoon in Miraval is like a water spirit descending the sky in all its might and then swiftly retreating again. There is no foreboding current in the air, no humidity, just the vast sky opening up and leaving a glorious washed, cleansed, wet desert in its wake.
I am drawn back to the Monsoon, to the bright stars in the summer celestial sky, to the full moon and the new moon, refreshed by the rain, bright and unobscured and the sudden opening of cactus flower blooms that fill the whole landscape. Miraval in the summer is a time to experience the power of looking up, of gazing into the night sky and wonder, to turn up the palms of your hands and feel a pounding rain on bare skin.
“During the monsoon, thunderstorms are fueled by daytime heating and build up during the late afternoon-early evening. Typically, these storms dissipate by late night, and the next day starts out fair, with the cycle repeating daily. The monsoon typically loses its energy by mid-September when drier and cooler conditions are reestablished over the region.”
- American Meteorological Society
This summer I plan to head to Miraval and spend days walking, researching plants and studying the night sky. Desert plants are so mysterious, a wish is to time my trip to see the elusive night-blooming Cereus, the Sonoran desert cactus that blooms only once a year for a single night.
For a city girl I find that I really don’t like to be indoors - I only feel really good when I am in the shower, bath or on foot walking. Maybe that is why I love the spa at Miraval so much, designed by Clodagh, entering the space you still feel as if you are walking through the desert light. I like the feeling of moment and the stone, wood, metals and crystals that create the minimal structure surrounding expansive glass are incredibly beautiful. You feel you are walking through another part of nature and that you can keep going further, that is a transformational feeling.
"One Night a Year, This Cactus Flower May Surprise You"
By JoAnna Klein
Once in the spa, I plan to experience the new Red Flower Monsoon* attraction therapeutic treatments (launching this summer, hold fast to this moment) at dusk, just before the night flowers bloom and the moon is new (the ideal time to plant a moonflower!). Two sensory journeys designed to capture the essence of this seasonal, unique desert experience, with therapeutic aspects guided by the storm, the cycle of the moon and the aroma of the Moonflower, a night-blooming flower. Reconnecting to the cycle of storms, plants, the moon comes when you are connected to nature. Why do some plants bloom at only night and why are we attracted to natural elements that reflect our own internal cycles?
“Moon flowers (Botanical name: Ipomoea) are called moon flowers because they bloom in moonlight. These are beautiful pink or white flowers (when the moonlight reflects against the petals they appear blue). The flowers quickly open at night and last the entire night. They close when the sunlight touches their petals. The plant has a height of up to 15 feet. The propagation is by seed. The flower should be planted when the moon is new or increasing.”
Attraction is the right word to describe the purpose, process and benefit of this treatment. Created to cleanse away negativity and leave space for attraction, just as the desert is cleansed by the Monsoon to bloom again.
Night-blooming flowers are nocturnal to seduce their pollinators. Following the lunar cycle with their sweet aroma, the brighter the moon the greater the effect, the full moon is the height of this attraction cycle.
It is so good to be cleansed, to wonder, to open up to the night sky.
Experience the celestial joy of Miraval during Monsoon.
Learn more about the Red Flower Monsoon treatment series available all summer long and signature Red Flower treatments at Miraval.
*Created in collaboration with Miraval team Jennifer Liccardi and Ella Davidson