This week is our anniversary. We've lived in Tucson for 5 years.
In that time we've learned to tolerate extremes in temperatures and political opinions. We've tasted Sonoran Hot Dogs and tepary beans. We've gone nearly 100 days without rain and we've been unable to leave our neighborhood because the access roads are flooded. It snowed here that first February, while I was wearing shorts on Long Island. It's certainly a place with pointy edges.
Hardly anything that grows anywhere else I've ever lived can grow here... unless one is willing to invest constant care and attention and irrigation. I thought I might be that person, but after killing the magnolia tree within a week of bringing it home that first August, I changed my mind. I was in floral lust and I needed those thick green leaves and that fabulous white flower and the scent.... oh, the scent. But I forgot that this was not Marin or Chicago or New York and I didn't realize that here in Tucson it would need to be watered thoroughly two or three times a day. One windy, hot afternoon it reproached me with its death.
That was the last time I invested in a non-native plant. The most successful newbies are the volunteers, those dropped from coyote fur or pooped by mourning doves or ground squirrels. I'm experimenting with rooting plants in containers set into the raised vegetable bed, taking advantage of the irrigation system already in place, but thus far my efforts have been fruitless.
Yet I persevere.
I've been asked to write a piece on why I love our town, following up on the letter I wrote on January 17th and I'm having a hard time quantifying the wonderfulness that is Tucson. Today, for example, our lunch companions asked us to differentiate it from Scottsdale.... where should we begin?
We are sophisticated but not pretentious. We are fully capable of dressing to the nines but there's never any pressure. As long as the relevant body parts are covered, Tucson Casual is whatever works for you.
We have a world class university with a world class medical facility (and I'm the one to speak to that issue, thank you very much) and the local magazine is wondering if we'll be at the top of the Pac-12in football as well as basketball. It's true that our airport allows me to fly to no where I want to go, but that's a small price to pay for swimming in March. In my backyard. With no grass to mow.
How can I stand the high temperatures, you ask? Without humidity, there's breathable air and less perspiration. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for it, but the practical implications are that, for 12 months of the year, I can open the door and be greeted by warm air. There's never that blast of frigid-icy-slicing-through-your-pores slice of the great outdoors that makes you wonder why you are living above the 35parallel.
"It feels like a small town," she said while paying for our lunches today. "Do people still recognize you?" he asked as we were leaving the restaurant. I turned to the waitress and asked her the question and her "Of course!" came with a giant smile and a loving nod of her head.
Are we sorry we moved here? Not at all. Bullets perforate me and Tucson heals me.
There's nothing more to be said.