Arizona - Heat, Haboobs, and Soul-Searching

We moved to Arizona when I was pregnant with our first child and we could not take another Chicagoland winter with potholes, gray skies and too much traffic.  We had visited close friends in Arizona for a week in March one year.  It did not take long to decide that we needed more sun, more open space, and a dramatic change of scenery.

We drove across the country with Cheeto, our baby Chihuahua.  I threw my filthy winter coat in a dumpster at a rest stop in Flagstaff, and thought, "So Long, Sucker!"

Enormous Year-Round Blue Sky, Scrubby Plants,
and a General Feeling of Solitude in the Sonoran Desert

We moved to a great town called Gilbert in the Southeast Valley, 40 minutes from Phoenix.  We made fast friends with our next-door neighbor, and tried to see as much of the desert mountains as we could.

Our favorite spots to hike were Wind Cave Trail in the Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park, South Mountain, and San Tan Mountain.  At most of these spots, we were sharing trails with mountain bikers and people on horseback.


We came to love the Monsoon Season, the strange spirit of the desert-dwellers, frequent hot air balloon sightings, and rust-free vehicles.

A Haboob rolling into our neighborhood during Monsoon Season

My husband's '64 GMC

Fast forward 6 years.  My husband works from home.  I am a stay-at-home mom.  I have three kids aged 6, 4, and 2.  We are trapped inside.  I am sitting inside with the air-conditioning CRANKED.  I am watching Ice Road Truckers and eating ice cream with an ice pack on my forehead.  I hate the sun.  I am plotting my escape to cooler territory.  I start to fantasize about rain and cloudy skies.  It is 120 degrees outside.

Yet even in the 8th month of summer there is still something great about living in the desert.  Everyone is living it together, and saying, "Hot enough for ya?" becomes the secret code before you are let in to anyplace.  All the while, the general population is just waiting to text pictures of themselves by the pool on a balmy February day to all their friends and family elsewhere in the country.

I will always love the desert.  It is just as healing as the Alaskan rainforest or the snow-covered prairies to me.  The incredible solitude and lack of distraction forces self-reflection and a person can truly find herself.

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