Welcome to February. It’s the month when we’re all over it – the holidays, the cold, the relentless winter. This is the last long stretch until the earth starts to really wake up and remind us that it was worth the wait. It’s a long month, but we find a way to survive it, year after year, because that’s what we do. We endure it, and we wait for the green grass and the warm sun and the spring (and summer) rains.
We have this curious tendency to always make comparisons. To always focus on how things are imperfect. To always look to the future, when things are finally – finally! – going to be better.
For about two weeks after its arrival, we love spring. We rejoice in the weather and the light and the lengthening days. But then the heat of summer looms over on the horizon – and the oak mites and mosquito bites – and we immediately start to fixate on the colors of autumn and the warm friendly gatherings around the backyard fire as the earth begins to cool again, the smell of burning leaves, the cool breeze drifting in from the cracked window that makes it possible once again to clutch your partner close in bed without waking up bathed in sweat in the middle of the night because it’s so damn hot. We obsess over our elaborate Halloween decorations, our friends and family gathered around the Thanksgiving table, the wine and conversation as we gather around the fireplace.
Some like it cold. Some like it hot. Most of us find some silly reason to hate what we have, and yearn for what’s coming next. That’s the big mistake.
Rubbing my cold feet together, sitting in front of the computer tonight, I came across this picture – a flooded street in the warehouse district on South Euclid Avenue in Tucson, Arizona. Deprived of water and rainfall for most of the year, the monsoon rains that descend upon the Mojave Desert in July are a welcome reprieve from the oppressive summer heat. But the streets flood and the mosquitoes proliferate. The joy is short-lived and the complaints begin, almost instantly. And I just don’t get it. It happens every year, so it isn’t as if some kind of mysterious plague has blown into town that we couldn’t have expected.
A biblical flood in the desert? It’s more of a miracle than it is a curse, even if your commute is inconvenienced.
Life in the desert is a life of extremes. Freezing weather during the winter nights and oppressive heat during the summer. I feel like this is the perfect environment to develop a genuine appreciation for how fragile life is, how frail our ecosystem. When I’m freezing cold, or when I can’t seem to cool down (and want to dump ice water over myself), I try to concentrate on the engine of change, and the stubborn human spirit that stares the changing seasons down like a twitching-trigger-finger cowboy in an old western duel.
We endure. And there is so much more worth loving than there is worth complaining about here.
Without mincing words, all I can say is this: I fucking love living in the Tucson desert.