I have loved Arizona since I was a little girl. As far back as my memory takes me, I was enamored with the cacti, the drenching sunshine, even the intense summer heat. At 22, I swore I would move there, and I finally arrived to stay on February 1st, 2005.
I’m an Arizonan now. I’ve got a perma-tan that lasts throughout the winter months, a straw hat and chickens in the back yard. I don’t round-out my “ohs”– or at least not as much as I used to.
Its not a huge surprise that I moved away. I struggled with a depression that liked to set in every November and hang around through March. In a land of famously-cold winters and 10,000 lakes (or really 12,000, right?), I managed to make it into early adulthood without riding either a jet ski or a snowmobile. I don’t care for Minnesota cuisine of hotdish or bars. And my family never went fishing on the weekends, drilling through the ice to make it an all-seasons sport. We didn’t even have a cabin “up north.” And everyone has a cabin “up north.”
I hated the relentless Minnesota winters, but these days I long for the cold. I’m not sure that makes any sense, although it might prove that if you are away from anything long enough, you will start to miss it.
To be in the woods during the winter is a special kind of marvelous that can’t be replicated in the desert. Soft snow, all around, with tree branches slicing up the greyish sky. And its silent. So very silent. You can hear your heartbeat while your breath puffs out in a whitish plume.
I’d like to be enveloped in wintery calm, swallowed up in white. I want to rest in that timeless, silent place before and beyond any illness, fears, or frustration. It does seem easier to access from the deep Minnesota woods in February, but I believe I carry this peaceful spot within me. Laced within my DNA, or holding the roots of my soul, its there, waiting for me to visit– even from my kitchen in Tucson.