It has been six months since I said good-bye to friends, associates, and neighbors. As I prepared to go I only could see what I was losing--rose gardens, grape vines, Boston Ivy encompassing my home and dear friends that have been with me through everything.
I thought I "knew" what I was moving to--Arizona desert, heat, and yellow grass. I remember distinctly moving away from AZ all those years ago thinking about how great it will be to have UT's four seasons, the cool evenings even in the summer, and gorgeous green grass. For more than a decade I have relished in these UT gifts and thought it would be nearly unbearable to leave. But in my rush to leave the Sonoran Desert, I forgot to notice what has overwhelmed me in my return.
1. Arizona skies. They are huge and painted in sublimity. The sunrise blooms in pink, and orange hues until the blue awakens. It is as immense as the sea and often seems as powerful. The sunset completes the color explosion--echoing the morning glory but magnifying the richness of the colors as it fights to ward off the impending darkness. My husband will talk science with my boys about the dust causing such beauty--but I refuse to accept it. It is desert magic--an artist date every morning and night. I try to never miss it. I will often get up at 4:30 am to work before the family awakens so I can take the time at sunrise to be outside with the sky and my mountain.
2. The desert mountains have as much beauty as the Wastach Mountains--I just never took the time as a youth to discover it. In my hurry to perform in string groups, participate in student council, and other great activities, I forgot to slow down and discover the mountainside. Hiking has become a new passion. The fire was lit in the Holy Land this fall. I was overwhelmed with how much Galilee was like Queen Creek. I fell in love with both lands simultaneously. There is nothing like hiking with my family all together--the 21 year old carrying the 10 year old for miles. The laughing, the spontaneous need to climb the face of a particular peak. The quiet and the loss of cell phone service.
3. The Arizona friendliness greets me everywhere. The gal in the grocery line who shares her life with me as we wait. The openness and acceptance. It is a gift.
Ironically, I have fallen in love with the desert and the warmth of it all. I rarely notice the lack of grass and meticulous flower gardens because I am busy looking up. If Utah's beauty is built in the small details--the petunias and tulips--Arizona's beauty is built in large strokes of sky and desert scape. I find peace in greeting its greatness daily and I am grateful to be home.