A Love Letter to the Arizona Desert
June 8, 2015 at 12:05 am
We recently received the following letter from reader Ginger James. She writes: "I am currently enrolled in a creative writing class that required me to write a love letter to an object. As a native of the beautiful state of Arizona, I decided to focus my words of affection on the Arizona Desert. I have been encouraged by my instructor (and my mom) to submit my work to be shared with others. Please feel free to include the attached document in your magazine or online postings if you feel it is worthy of Arizona Highways. I welcome any feedback that may be provided me."
Dear Arizona Desert,
I have known you my whole life. Your saguaro cacti and your rocky soil were the backdrop of my childhood playground. You introduced me to jack rabbits and cotton-tails, and taught me the difference between the two. It was you that taught me the value of a shady parking space far outweighs even the closest parking space. You showed me why I should never leave Chapstick in my car in July, and taught me “haboob” is desert lingo for “giant wall of dust.” You taught me there are several shades of brown, each with its own subtle personality, and that Bermuda grass and bougainvillea can grow virtually anywhere. You introduced me to various insects and snakes, and painfully taught me that a scorpion sting will not kill me.
Over the years, I took you for granted. At times I was very angry with you. I blamed you for robbing me of snowy winters filled with sledding down hills and ice skating on frozen ponds. Now I can see that you never robbed me, but you spared me. Your splendid, sunny rays spared me from shoveling dirty snow and driving on icy roads each winter. You continue to wrap me with sunshine that heals and soothes my very soul each day. You spoil me with colorful, brilliant sunsets that fill the unending sky with pinks, purples, and oranges each night. You fill my days with rocky road ice cream, spray-on sunblock, and Old Navy flip-flops. Thank you.
Your beautiful landscape has become my recreation. I love your many hills and mountains, with their random wild flowers and dashing lizards, which provide me year-round hiking and jogging trails. I love your quiet, tranquil backdrop that makes me feel a million miles from the world, even if I’m just a mile outside of town. I love your creosote bushes that fill the air with delightful freshness after a monsoon rain. I love your summer-night lightning storms that consume the black sky and fascinate my eyes. I love your lakes that provide me oasis and entertainment.
It is you, Arizona Desert, which I have called home all these years. My life wouldn’t be the same without you. I love you for being consistent: sunny and hot. I love you for saving me the hassle of winterizing. I love you for brightening my life every day with your cheerful rays and Vitamin D. I love you even on the days your heat chokes my lungs of breath, and on the mornings it is ninety degrees by sunrise. You are, and will always be, my home.
Thank you for sharing, Ginger.
Photo: Debbie Angel | Saguaro National Park West