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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Desert memories!

USA | Friday, 14 June 2013 | Views [1555]

Brian and I crossed the border into Arizona after visiting White Sands and driving seemingly endlessly along the I-10. Almost instantaneously, various memories were brought back to me since I lived in Marana, Arizona as a little boy.

Memory #1: Gorgeous sunsets

We were greeted by a magical sunset shortly after crossing into Arizona. The sunsets of the Sonoran Desert are unforgettable and I have many memories of watching the sunset from my uncle's property as the sky would turn orange and then a bright pink. As the sky darkened tonight I was greeted by a bright crack in the sky...

Memory #2: Lightning

A spectular show in the desert, the lightning looks like a giant shatter across the sky. Just as many years ago, giant cracks of lightning provided flashes and flashbacks. With the lightning comes thunder and, often, rain. The desert monsoonal rains bring this memory...

Memory #3: The smell of a desert monsoon

The scent of the desert after a torrential downpour is so distinct that it remains permanently etched into your sensual memory! It's possible to record sights and sounds with your camera but there's never been a way to forever record smell. Stepping outside onto a muddy driveway after the rains have stopped is something I always looked forward to. Not only did these downpours bring a scent, they also brought another wonderful memory...

Memory #4: Cactus and desert life

Many people, including Brian, don't understand or appreciate the desert, often brushing it off as a lifeless void. Brian said to me "I've never understood the desert and how they could build a city out here." When you look beyond the alleged blandness you see desertscape teeming with life! Lizards, snakes, hawks, cactus, and desert shrub, just to name a few, are part of the Sonoran Desert. The saguaro lives up to 200 years and is an iconic image of Arizona.

Perhaps the most distinct lizard is the black and pink Gila monster. As one of only two poisonous lizards in the world, I have a fond memory of seeing a Gila monster from Howard's jeep (I mentioned Howard in a story about Idaho, where he lives). Aside from the saguaro, varieties of cactus include barrel, organ pipe, prickly pear, and many others. 

After reminiscing on all these things we pull up into Tucson. Brian's ear started bothering him and we pulled into the parking lot of a Wal-Mart whilst he searched high and low for his ear medicine. I kept thinking "let's just do this when we get to our destination" which tonight, is the home of my friend Trisha. That brings back another memory...

Memory #5: Good friends and people

We lived in Marana on three separate occasions when we were younger and the impact of people was almost instanteous. We were this group of city kids who converged on the country. My fellow classmates were tough, yet some of them really stood out, and for many years I fell out of contact with all of them. With the help of Facebook I got back in contact with a few, and Trisha is one Marana friend who really stands out. She's not your prototypical Marana girl. Trisha travels often, does a lot, loves dogs and cats, and aspires to go to veterinary school in London. When Brian and I parked tonight it was joy as I got a nice, warm hug from Trisha. She lives in a tiny adobe-style apartment with numerous animals and is recently divorced. When I reconnected with Trisha a couple of years ago I vented on her about my ex-girlfriend but after she told me what she went through with her ex I felt like "really, I complained to her about my ex." 

After Trisha told me about her ex (and I'm thankful she did, because my thought was "good riddance!") we went out in search of something to eat. Tucson has a surprisingly thriving nightlife. Throngs of people are on the streets going bar-hopping at or beyond midnight. Tucson is a major university town with U of A and perhaps the most liberal of Arizona's cities. There's somewhat of a hippie vibe, it's a very bike-friendly city and a metro is currently being built. We called in at a restaurant/bar called Elliot's on Congress and I was on the verge of collapse. Suddenly I didn't feel hungry anymore but I was up for a coffee. Brian tried to talk me out of it but it's better than the 151's I drank last night. 

The following morning I woke up early and it was hot already; one memory I'd like to forget is the heat. Our P.E. teacher used to make us run a half-mile each day until a student collapsed and had to be airlifted to Tucson for emergency treatment. Even though it was hot I went on a photo safari and got some creative photos.

For awhile I was thinking we'd break in Tucson for a day but Brian and I would end up finishing the journey, but not before stopping at Circle S for lunch and running into my grandmother's old friend "Pudgey." Circle S is a saloon out in Marana where seemingly the entirely town gathers for gossip. It's another memory...going there with my grandmother everyday. I was always spoiled with chips and Diet Coke (neither of which I consume anymore).

Before making the long drive we stopped for a few and visited my uncle Bob; he's not really my uncle since he and my aunt were only together for a couple of years but I came to know him as that. That brings back another memory...

Memory #6: Happy days & nights at Uncle Bob's

Uncle Bob would barbeque the best steaks on either side of the border, have lots of animals (13 dogs at one time), have a campfire going each night, take us for rides on his quad, and even take us fishing and swimming. My time was limited to only a few minutes but he told us to drop by when we have a few days to spare. I know I'd be completely content pitching my tent there! Before we hit the I-10 I relived on final memory...

Memory #7: Mountains

When I lived here I paid close attention to all the mountains and to this day remember what they all look like. Some of them look like volcanoes, and the mountains seem to change shape depending on where you go. I remember these mountains as though I saw them yesterday.

Ah, the desert memories. The sights, sounds, views, voices, and smells of the Arizona desert. Once they're ingrained into you, they never leave you!


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