More than you expected; less than you deserve

Month: July, 2016

Life at the Edges

tiff infomation

Sonoran Desert at Sunset

There’s something beautiful about desolation.  It almost seems the absence of life magnifies the presence of it.   The human eye takes in a landscape where existence has no hope, and then searches for that one patch of green, that hint of movement, that bold, solitary expression against all odds of survival.

I moved to the Sonoran desert thirty years ago, transplanted from the lush, green mountains of eastern Tennessee. Immediately upon arriving I began something akin to the five stages of grief.  First I denied the possibility this dry, barren land could be my home.  I longed for the cool, tree-bristled mountains of home.  Every opportunity was sought to find a way back to the humidity, back to the green, life-teeming vistas of the south.

But being young and marginally employable, the desert of Arizona is where I remained.  The other grief stages ensued: anger, bargaining, and depression (lots of depression).  Finally, after a few years of taking in the stark, craggy mountains and walking among the ponderous saguaro cacti, something shifted in my DNA.  Suddenly, in places I previously thought lifeless there came a glimmer of something fragile and beautiful.

Seemingly from the cracks in the rocks and slightest depressions in the earth, I realized life found a way.  Persistent here, yielding there, always opportunistic, often failing greatly, but forever pursuing an unseen purpose, life found a way.  In the edges where desolation wasn’t looking there came existence like some swaggering dandy.

Whenever I find myself overcome by the insanity of humankind and it’s almost suicidal intent to destroy all things good, I sometimes stop and consider the desert.  There are those who will always seek destruction, and at times they will seem to be winning the battle.  But against all odds life will persist.  In those forgotten places it will spring up.  Wherever the slightest sliver of an opening remains it will shoot out a branch.  At the edges where desolation isn’t looking, life will burst forth and feel the sun.



Hot Enough to Melt Glass

tiff infomation

Balcony at 102 degrees

Going to be a hot one today in Arizona.  As my uncle used to say, “Hot enough to melt glass.”  The weather guy says 108 degrees before it’s over. Not quite there yet, but the day is young.  I’m sitting in a room at Scottsdale Gainey Ranch Resort.  The air inside is a cool 77 degrees as I gaze out the sliding glass doors checking for signs of bulging and deformation indicating the melting process has begun.

Scottsdale is a place Tucsonans flee to when the summer heat reaches its boiling point. The Phoenix area usually runs about five degrees warmer than Tucson.  So, the attraction may not immediately be apparent. However, the intense heat is exactly what makes Scottsdale a prime summertime destination.  Wealthy snow-birds from Minnesota, Illinois, New York and other cold winter states aren’t interested in paying resort prices in July.

We paid $126 per night for this room (not including the resort fee).  Just for fun I checked on the price for the same room in October.  It would cost us $346 with no free breakfast.  So, here we sit acting rich, sipping our flavored carbonated waters and talking about going down to the fitness center for a workout.  Thank God for those few clear centimeters between us and nature’s fiery furnace.