the september tease

September is an odd month here in the desert. Every blog title or magazine article you come across on the interwebs talks of crisp breezes and the prospect of changing leaves. Here we are still waiting to say goodbye to the last three-digit day and dreaming of a high that’s lower than 90 degrees. I forget, does it ever get cooler? Is there a world where you don’t have to hide from the big yellow discus in the sky from morning til dusk?

Yes, of course, silly girl. Soon the page will abruptly turn to what feels like our true ‘summer’ – a time of easy weather that demands you go outside and stay there dammit. Each year I just know those cool evenings will be back by the end of September. And each year I’m reminded that it may not even be here by Halloween. But when it does come – that’s when we lie in our hammocks in the lazy drifting afternoons, and see how much of our day-to-day living we can move to the back porch. We’re just a little out of step with everybody else in the world, that’s all. And that’s part of the magic of Tucson, its own little world with its own set of rules. Our seasons are different, our gardening calendars are different, hell our time zone is different! I have survived quite well without springing forward and falling back every year.

A friend was talking about how some visitor from Los Angeles was poo-pooing our little burg “Is that all there is?” and how upsetting it could be to hear a town you’ve adopted dissed so. But a part of me kinda doesn’t mind. Those of us who come here from all around the country and world are drawn to something magic, something special. The clearness of the air, the otherworldly beauty, the serenity. The act of actually acknowledging and talking with people on the street or behind the cash register. The friends you bump into on 4th Avenue and convince you to put off your next appointment to have a drink at the Surly Wench.

And not everybody gets it. Which means that maybe it can stay that way a little longer before the sheer number of humanity muddies up its character beyond recognition. That may be wishful thinking – more and more people move here at an astonishing rate, despite the summer’s raging heat. Things are changing already – downtown is growing, a new streetcar is on its way (soon!) and lots of fancy restaurants and bars are cropping up. There’s a controversy roiling between those who salivate for these changes and those who are very nervous that a funky homegrown weirdness will get drowned out amid the urban makeovers. I find myself wavering between both camps. I just hope that the call of Tucson is still loudest to those who appreciate her unique charms.

Hey, there was a cool breeze this morning! We’ve been getting some on and off rains yesterday and today. I don’t think it’s here to stay – all the more reason to immerse every sense in this moment and gaze at the blanket of rain drops speckling the palo verde needles before the evaporate back into the sky.

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