a thousand seasons exist in the sonoran desert. as you might imagine, in any conversation that statement can quickly become quite controversial. it is, however, all about perspective.
if one should view the desert from the somewhat superficial view of an infrequent visitor from a very green state, one might think of the desert as either boiling hot or moderately nice, but always brown.
my mom, for example, who spent her whole life in the afore-mentioned greenry, visited a couple of times and never got past the idea that the entire state is simply hot…and brown. although to give her credit, after her first visit she did give this quite a bit of thought. and then called me to let me know that she had come to grips with the whole thing.
“i am sitting on my balcony,” she began, “enjoying the tall tree with its green leaves rustling in the breeze, and it occurred to me that, if god made this beautiful tree, and he made arizona, then arizona must be beautiful too.” not exactly a resounding approval, but as close as my mom would get. i don’t think that the arizona tourism board will be clamoring to use her statement as an enticement for visitors anytime soon.
i have even heard a few longtime residents voice their belief that arizona has only two seasons…hot, and not-quite cold. so, truly, beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder.
on my very first visit to arizona, i fell in love. not in the usual way, but in love with this amazing desert. my dad had moved here two years before, after falling in love with arizona from a friend’s photographs. i noticed him watching me as i fell just as hard for this alien land of giant cactus, huge mountains and exquisite flowers, sometimes found in the most unusual and often uninhabitable-looking places.
which brings me back to that first line about the thousand seasons. my dad and i spent a lot of time exploring the less-inhabited parts of the sonoran desert. over those years, our observations adjusted our perspectives, often bringing us around to discussing the seasons.
not just two seasons as many people saw, but way more than the four we had been accustomed to back east. together we enjoyed winter dry season….winter rainy season which held the promise of an abundant….wildflower season….the prolific early spring season when the summer birds began to return….desert poppy season….yellow flower season….purple flower season….hot and dry season….monsoon season….purple-pink sunset season….green grass on the mountains season….the-don’t-go-outside-unless-you-have-to very hot season….well, you get the idea.