17 April 2013

Spring in the Desert

 Arizona has a reputation for being a hot and dusty desert state full of tanned people exclaiming "it's a dry heat!" while they eat Mexican food and pass outrageously bigoted laws. But that is simply not the case. Arizona has a variety of terrain and climates, from the sweltering desert floor to chilly snow-covered mountains and pine forests. Also a lot of people in Arizona are very liberal minded and shake their heads in confusion and awe with the rest of the country at the few right winged extremists bringing the state into the headlines. We do have/eat a lot of really good Mexican food though.

Where I grew up, in Prescott, spring is very much like spring most places: budding leaves and flowers, fickle weather that can go from lovely to snowy in a matter of hours, and a slow, gentle and steady transition from the frigid winter to the glorious days of summer. I never really was much of a fan of spring, aside from my birthday occurring during it- the flowers and slightly warmer temperatures were nice but for the most part the weather was way too windy and unpredictable, the first half still felt wholly like winter, and the second half coincided with the stress and pressure of the final weeks of school.

Down here in Tucson though, spring is a bit different- with temps that hang around the 70s and 80s and sometimes peak in the 90s it feels more like summer starts in February. It's constantly the perfect temperature out with the occasional light breeze, only slightly chilly nights, and the scent of blooming flowers in the air all the time. By the middle of may and certainly by june it will be too hot to sleep with more than a sheet or walk more than 20 feet to your car, but the blissful months of february, march, and april are probably Tucson at its best.

We have a very small cactus garden in our very small yard, which I really really like. We moved in last August, so we didn't get a chance to see it bloom for spring. This year I'm loving seeing the changes every few weeks as new flowers show up, cactus fruits start to get plump, and things that were dried and wilted by the time we got here last year shoot up fresh and new. In the desert, just like everywhere else, spring is full of new life and plenty of colorful, fragrant blossoms :)
By summer, the old dead flowers will have fallen off the tops and the fruit will turn into gorgeous, wax-like pink and yellow flowers.

It's still the last few weeks of school, but the wonderful weather lessens the pain a little bit. When I first moved to Tucson, I was quick to complain about the heat and the grime- but over the almost 3 years that I've lived here, I've really come to appreciate so much about this cultured little city. It is really so beautiful and full of natural life and history! Plus, I love how you're never more than a short drive away from hiking trails, campsites, swimming holes, even skiing! As anxious as I am to graduate and continue on to some place new for the next chapter in my life, I'm going to miss Tucson... and I'll definitely miss the perfect Tucson Springtime!