The Sonoran Desert: Here There Be Thorns

I really must be in love, because on my fiancé’s behest, I was about to fly to Tucson, Arizona. In August. If I wanted to experience 100 degree temperatures, I’d have stayed in Florida. And yet, here I was, on a plane, heading into what felt like the world’s biggest pizza oven.

Ah, but it’s a dry heat. The better to desiccate you with, my dear. It felt as if the inside of my nose was going to crack open and crumble to dust.

And yet, upon arrival, a funny thing happened. I fell in love with the place’s unique beauty. I strongly suspect that Arizonans are treated to more thorns per capita than residents of any other state in the union. Saguaro cactus. Organ pipe cactus. Barrel cactus. It has more plant species than any other desert in the world. Cholla. Prickly Pear. Creosote bush. Bur sage. Palo verde. Mesquite. Ironwood. Acacia. I was enchanted.

And running around amongst that flora was an amazing amount of fauna. An astounding variety of lizards, too quick to be photographed. Turtles. Bats. Rabbits. Coyote. Gila monsters. Hummingbirds. Quail. Roadrunners. Snakes. And lest we forget, the troublesome Javelina.

It seems like life should be impossible in the blistering heat of this desert, and yet there it was, all around me. The terrain was amazing, too, with its mountains and plains and dry washes. And, being monsoon season, when it rained, my goodness, it rained, causing floods where one would think water had never been before. And then the temperature would drop 25 blessed, blessed degrees and the desert would bloom and be as lush as it could ever be.

Would I live in the Sonoran Desert? No. I’d miss moisture and grass and nothing scary to step on when barefoot.

Will I visit again? I hope so! There’s a certain poetry to the place. But I hope I won’t be back in August. Please, God, not in August.

Here are some pictures we took of this beautiful land.

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that?

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Sun

I have to admit that when I was contemplating my move from Florida to Seattle, I approached the whole concept with a certain level of trepidation. Everyone knows it rains all the time in Seattle. I mean, All. The. Time. I really didn’t know how I would cope. I’m already prone to depression. Would this push me over the edge?

Now that I’ve been in Seattle for 6 months, though, I realize it’s not that big of a deal. Yes, it rains all the time, but this isn’t Florida rain. It’s not frog-choking, gully-washing, break-out-your-rowboat-and-head-for-higher-ground rain. It’s more like a constant annoying mist. It’s not even worth putting on a raincoat most of the time.

What’s harder to take is the fact that during certain parts of the year it’s overcast and you can’t see the sun. But even then, the clouds occasionally break and let the sunshine in, and then you appreciate it even more. When the sun comes out I make an effort to go outside. I probably spend more time outdoors here than I ever did in Florida, where you could take the sun for granted. It also doesn’t hurt that you don’t get the oppressive 100 percent humidity and 100 plus temperatures here, either.

Truth be told, in Florida I worked graveyard shifts for 13 years, so I slept through most of the sun. Because of that, I probably see more sun in Seattle than I ever did in the Sunshine State, and that suits me just fine.

So, yeah, I take my Vitamin D, and occasionally I turn on my S.A.D. light, but for the most part, it’s all good. Don’t let the rain scare you away from this amazing city. Learn to see the beauty in the grey and appreciate all that this place has to offer.


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