Eight years ago this week we flew to Phoenix and drove to Tucson. We were house-hunting, and C&B told us that Tucson was their retirement destination. Since they lived in Phoenix, we assumed they knew what they were talking about, so we scheduled a realtor trip and hit I-10.
We were nearly blown off the road.
The winds start in the north or the south or the east or the west... there's no accounting for their origins or their paths. During the summer, entire weather systems originate over Pike's Peak and drop rain on our parched ground. The fact that the weather is coming from the east was baffling at first, but we soon became comfortable with those shifting winds.
Comfortable with the notion, perhaps, but not with the results.
The winds kick up lots of dust. That makes for fabulous sunsets. It also makes it nearly impossible to avoid allergens.
Yes, I know that people came to the desert to escape airborne irritants, but those same people missed the foliage they'd left behind. They imported non-native plants and trees to remind themselves of home, and soon the desert was as toxic as the lands they'd left behind.
The wind picks up tiny fragments of sand and thick dust and deposits them on eyelids and in nostrils. I know no one who isn't sneezing or hacking a dry, unproductive cough. No one is sick, everyone is annoyed. At the theater on Saturday, the director begged the audience to unwrap cough drops before the curtain went up; there was a rush of crinkly cellophane all around me. Performing in Tucson in May has perils, it seems.
There's a general scratchiness which abounds. People are rubbing arms and eyes and throats, seeking but rarely finding relief. Sympathy is on the face of those watching another sneeze uncontrollably. Everyone has been there, done that... and has been for the past few weeks.
There's a different yoga practice for the windy season. My car uses more gas to cover the same territory, as the Schnozz pushes herself through the gusts.The bougainvilla on the side of the house make slamming banging noises with their branches, scaring me with their ferocity until I remember that it's only a plant.
The doors shake and the windows rattle and the alarm goes off when the back door to the potting shed takes the brunt of a particularly strong celestial exhalation.
That's what I'm imagining it to be. I have so many angels in heaven these days, grandparents and parents and little friends watching me from above. I've decided that they are blowing out the angst and clearing the way for the new baby and it's taking an awful lot of power to do so.
When my car door slammed shut, pushed by the wind, I thanked Daddooooo for closing it for me. When my breeze-assisted walk to the mailbox is faster than it's ever been before, I thank my spirits for the help. The clouds speeding by overhead are a reminder from G'ma of those rides we took so that she could admire them from the road.
The birds are flapping their wings more vigorously than ever, battling the forces that resist their forward motion. The plants need extra watering since the winds are more desiccating than even the summer heat. Loose flower petals and leaves are piling up in corners and under low shrubbery. My mailbox door refuses to stay shut.
Did I mention that it's been very windy lately?