Leaving Arizona

azThe refrigerator is empty.  So are the closets.  The cable and internet will turn off Sunday.   Our personal items and a few decorator items we’ll keep are boxed and waiting to be loaded into the car.  Our realtor, Kay, stopped by yesterday to tell us that based on the inspection report, the buyer has accepted the house as is … and the closing has been moved up to may 31.  Without the personal items and with our grandkids in Utah, the house doesn’t really feel like the place we called our Little House in the Desert.  Tomorrow, we will be Leaving Arizona.

cactusArizona has been what my generation called a mixed bag for us.   For those of you unacquainted with the hippie vernacular, that means it was bad and good.   I have always thought the desert was beautiful, albeit in a stark, rugged way.   Almost all desert plants offer thorns to those who daredesert flowers red touch and often sparse foliage.  The contrast makes the flowers that they offer even more amazing.   The desert flora offer a good metaphor for rural Arizona in general.  Beautiful neighborhoods appear in the midst of barren stretches of sand and ramshackle houses with unfinished yards piled with santan sunsetjunk, like used appliances and old cars.    The San Tan Mountains behind our former house arescorpion craggy and brown but frame incredible desert sunsets.  I’ll really miss the sunsets.  Quail, long-eared bunnies and an occasional cardinal visited our yard but we had to regularly check the house for scorpions.  I won’t miss the scorpions.

When we bought our house in Queen Creek (now San Tan Valley), it was at the edges of suburban Phoenix and slowly, civilization has been moving closer.  On our way here this week, we noticed that several restaurants we like had moved to our nearest shopping center, 25 minutes away.  That was perhaps what we liked least here … the trek to shopping, theater, restaurants and museums …the things that enrich our lives.  It’s odd, really.  We regularly travel those same distances to venues in Southern California and think nothing of it.    The problem here, I guess, is that there was nothing close by unless we wanted fast food or a Walmart.   Still, Phoenix offered much of thetaliesen kind of entertainment we enjoy when we took the time to find it.  The Heard Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, The Herberger Theater and The Museum of Musical Instruments were highlights.  Regrets?   For an assortment of reasons, we never lived here long enough to experience the over-55 lifestyle of the Solera community.  We hardly used the lovely rec center or participated in senior activities.  We didn’t make many friends here for the same reason, though we did regularly see our next door neighbors when we were here.  We will miss seeing them.

Did I mention the heat in summer?  Although the winter temperatures here are about the same as those at home in Socal, the temperatures rose to near 120 degrees in the summer.  Yes, indeed, it is dry heat, so dry your nostrils haboob turn to concrete while you sleep.   Along with the heat come monsoons and the massive dust storms known as haboobs.  It was the reason we rarely came in the summer, except when there were grandkid-happenings.  The heat, I won’t miss. It was exciting to drive through a haboob, though.  How many of you can say you’ve done that?  How many people would know what you were talking about if you could?

So, that’s a wrap, Arizona … we probably won’t be seeing you any time soon.   It’s been fun … mostly … and always an experience.

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