Very Arizona

I can’t resist you.

I’m feeling very Arizona.

I’m also feeling inspired by my grandmother’s writing.

Right now, I’m stuck in my office and staring at a screen. But my mind keeps wandering back to these sights, sounds, and moments on the trail…

I love you.

Powdery plumes of iron-rich, red dirt exploding with each step.

Green mountain slopes covered in a far-reaching thicket of prickly pear.

Mismatched socks of a 10-year-old hiker, eager to ditch her brothers to join me in the shade.

The grating sensation of my first blister…right between the toes.

I want to be inside you.

Slippery, moss-covered rocks bombarded with the rushing creek.

My white toes peeking out from frigid water as I floated on my back.

A scream followed by our cackles when my friend poked a “dead” spider with a stick.

You’re lovely.

Distant masses of clouds threatening to pound the dirt with fat, violent raindrops.

A lone coyote trotting across a dry wash.

Sheets of torrential rain marring my visibility.

Flushed cheeks and matted hair of my overheated hiking companions.


A lovely mess of overlapping ancient petroglyphs carved into rock.

The constant buzz of whirring insects’ wings echoing off canyon walls.

Total solitude in a craggy, shaded canyon.

A swarm of insects hovering over the stagnant water trapped in a tinaja.

Toads the size of my thumbnail hopping out of the way.

I will return to you.

…all this in just two days of hiking.

Hot, Hot, Hot

By SashaW on flickr Creative Commons.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

On Tuesday, I hiked 2.6 miles with my mother. We started at 5 p.m. and the entire hike was in full sun. The high for the day was 112 degrees.

We survived. And we did it without complaining.

In fact, I rarely complain about the heat anymore. I’m more likely to get hostile about the “freezing” air conditioner.

Truth is, living in the heat isn’t that difficult…as long as you adopt these guidelines:

Tip #5: Give up on Being Clean Cute

It’s pretty much impossible to achieve the powdery, fresh-from-the shower look  in this kind of heat. I find that the only time I’m really bothered by the AZ summer temperatures is when I am trying to look cute in that sterile, clean way. So, instead, I channel the sexy power of a lady athlete, musician on stage, or dancer. I usually wear my hair up, adopt a cotton wardrobe, and scale back on the makeup. This way, if I get sweaty or flushed, I’m going more for a dewy,  just-got-done-with-a-roll-in-the-hay kind of look.

Tip #4: Embrace the Sweat

In my younger years, I was horrified if my perspiration created any kind of sweat stain on my clothing. Today, I’m not so freaked out. I try to avoid it by living in tank tops but if I do get a sweaty patch, forget it. It happens. When it’s 115 degrees out, there’s no shame in it. And, chances are, the dry air will soon suck moisture out of your fabric.

Tip #3: Adopt Ignorance

As soon as June hits, ignore all thermometers. Don’t watch the weather report or check your smartphone for the forecast. If you don’t look at the numbers, every single day will feel exactly the same: hot (with a shrug). If you see the numbers, however, you’ll only adopt a very tangible, nagging way to measure your misery.

Tip #2: Don’t Mention It

Really? It’s hot outside you say? I’m surprised to hear that.

Tip #1: Get Out

Get out of the house. My #1 defense against the heat is to get out in it and do stuff. Go on a walk, do yard work, hike, whatever. Just go out into the heat and gain some experience dealing with it. Before you know it, your body will acclimate, your misery will subside, and you’ll save money on your electricity bill because you won’t be cranking down your AC like a madman.

There. I release you from your Phoenix summer misery. To celebrate, listen to this.