“So”, he said. “You miss Arizona yet?”
The question was obviously meant for me. But at the same time I answered “Nope”, he chimed in with “Yes!” We were hanging out with his parents, sitting at the kitchen table and talking about the weather. It’s been an awfully cold winter. Bitter cold. Local readers of the Farmers Almanac all warned us it would be.
My father-in-law wanted to know if I’d had enough of the cold weather that hammers these northern midwest states. I’d spent most of my life living “out west”, as they say here. Southern Arizona had been my home for a long, long time. Leaving the dangers of sunstroke & dehydration for frostbite has certainly been an experience. But I didn’t miss the desert. My husband, who’s lived here his whole life, would move there in a heartbeat if he could.
There is a place I long for, however. My early years were spent living in the Pacific Northwest. Most of my family is there. I remember playing hide and seek in those old homes, running the hills, picking filberts on the way to school. Big trees- HUGE trees! Laying in the backyard watching the summer night sky, and Mom asking me “How many stars do you see?” VW vans and bugs everywhere. And they all seemed to have Grateful Dead stickers on them…. Houseplants. Everyone had houseplants. Mountains. Beaches. Rivers. Beautiful…
The desert was a bit of a shock. Driving through the Mohave Desert, I became so badly dehydrated I was hallucinating. Poor Mom was terrified. Who knew you had to drink so much all the time?! When we drove over the Salt River bed, I looked down to see the river. There was no water. What is this place? Some sort of hell?
The desert has its own beauty. Breathtaking sunsets; strange looking cacti that vibrantly bloom. Sculpted rocks and exquisite canyons. And the creosote bush that emits its fragrance just before the rains fall. Ahh, the rains…And the desert has lizards. I ADORE lizards. Snakes, not so much. Not to mention some of the other pests. But lizards- they are spritely and fascinating to watch. They are wonderful to have around! I do miss lizards.
Honestly though, I love where I’m at; smack-dab in the middle of farm country. I’ve learned to smell the difference between cow, turkey and pig manure. Farmers are some of the best people I’ve ever met. We have 4 (intense) seasons. I can now drive on ice. The love of my life is here. Our home is here. And that home embodies a little bit of flavor from other places. I don’t know if we’ll ever move from here. But that’s just fine. Well, if you’re asking me.