Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Almost Arizona

Welcome to day number one of the A-Z Blog Challenge. I was beginning to wonder if my day one blog would get off of the ground. I almost wrote this in advance, but I almost to do a lot of things. It actually works out better because I have so much more to say than what I had originally had planned. My original plan was to start something like this...

A is for Arizona, my home state, my touchstone, my security blanket. I hope in one year from now I am sitting in my parents living room giggling with my nieces and being scolded by my mother for putting to much strain on my gimpy shoulder.

That was how it was going to start. I was then going to throw in something about how A is for 'Almost' on of the most popular excuses in my household. As in:

M: Did you do your chores?
R: Almost.
M: So you started your chores?
R: Almost.
M: Hmm..What have you almost been doing for the last 45 minutes?
R: I don't know.

Yeah, you know how it goes. Here's an almost conversation with my hubby...

J: Are you asleep?
M: Almost.
J: I wanted to talk to you about something.
M: .....

And just because it isn't fair to pick on everyone else and not give one of my 'Almost' moments:

J: Honey, I know you hate the dentist, but have you made your dentist appointment yet?
M: Almost.

A week later.

J: Did you make your dentist appointment?
M: Almost.
J: Almost won't keep anaerobic bacteria from growing.
M: Eww.
J: Don't you have a degree in Biology? So you didn't do it then?
M: I almost did it yesterday, but I got sidetracked.
J: Promise me you will make the appointment?
M: Okay

A Week later.

J: Did you make your appointment?
M: Almost.
J: You promised.
M: It's on my 'To Do' list!

I really hate the dentist, and it always takes me a good 6 weeks to muster up the courage to make my appointment and then go. I think I must have been almost tortured by a dentist in a former lifetime.

I've derailed, haven't I?

So I wanted to say a little about why I thought I would be in Arizona. It seems like a rather innocuous place to want/could/should/would be in a year. But as I have already told you it's my home. I used to think that Arizona was this miserable barren desert where nothing really interesting ever happened (I was a teenager, isn't that pretty much what we are all supposed to think of our hometown?). It's taken traveling all over the country to realize just how desperately beautiful my home state truly is. Driving through the desert I experience a kind of exquisite loneliness.

It's true that the desert is barren, and that inspires the lonely feeling. But somehow I always feel protected. Surrounded on all sides by mountain chains, I am sealed and comforted. The stoic exterior of the mountains makes me feel like I am enveloped in protective strength. In the middle of the barren desert surrounded by mountains for protection I think that this is where I can fall apart, this is the place where all of my vulnerabilities can be safely exposed. I am alone, but protected, I am safe, I am certain. The mountains are my fortress and everything I need is safe within the valley.

The night is darkest in the desert, but those of you who grew up in a desert know that the desert at night is as unique as anything. My favorite scent for as long as I have been able to remember is the smell of the desert at night. The scent is quiet. If you didn't know to look for it you might miss it. It is the delicate lilting wisp of the desert flowers. They blossom at night protected from the fierce daytime sun. When the sun sinks beyond the mountains they find the courage to blossom and they reveal themselves and all of their beauty to those who are paying attention.

A true Arizonan can smell the rain in the desert before the first drop has hit the thirsty desert floor. We are all thirsty and we know the scent of rain better than anyone else, because we don't take it for granted. The rain makes us dance. Before the first thunderbolt has clapped across the sky we are outside throwing our hands in the air in jubilant gratitude. Rainy days are meant to be exalted in the desert, in that lonely thirsty place where I am, where the deepest parts of my soul will always live and always return.

Arizona is the alpha and omega of who I am. That is why it is the perfect place for me to start my exploration of all of the places I could/should/will be a year from now. Arizona, my family, it's the place that I can always return. It's the place that I know will always be a fountain of courage and my creative resource when I'm parched. The sands of the desert wind through me like veins of gold in a mine. The desert and I are inextricably connected. I would start where my heart started, where it goes for strength and where it will ultimately return.

A is for, while writing this I was Almost in Arizona.



  1. I almost wrote a long comment, but who am I kidding? Love your post on Arizona.

  2. Thank you - Since I live in the state of Washington now, it's kind of ironic...I spend a good portion of the year wishing the rain away! :)

  3. A very fun post ... Almost ! :-)

    Really. I enjoyed it a bunch

  4. Cool makes me homesick for my home in Pennsylvania. I seem to be feeling that a lot lately. Funny thing though is that when we move from WA be it in four months or four years it won't be so much to PA as to a place closer to our family, where it won't cost us $1000 or more to visit. I feel tears sneaking from the corner of my eye.

  5. I love Arizona. I lived in Wickenburg for one year in the 5th grade. A few years ago we took the family there to the Grand Canyon. I love the West. Thanks for almost taking me there in this post.

  6. I am a wicked Stepmother too! Love the name of your blog!!!

  7. I'm a step mother too and love my stepsons. I guess we all want to move out and see the world when we're young but like Dorothy says, 'There's no place like home.'