Friday, April 16, 2010

My Whereabouts

Tucson - 38, 2005

If I have been efficient in carrying out my work this week, I should have a little time to explore the desert of southern Arizona about the time you’re reading this. I first came to this part of the Southwest about five years ago. Prior to that, my experience with Arizona was limited to downtown Phoenix and such stray points north as Paolo Soleri’s imaginative village at Arcosanti and the supposed confluence of spiritual energies at Sedona (the latter a no-show, in my case).

I can’t say I could ever see myself living here. Having grown up beside an ocean, the notion of living away from a large dynamic body of water is foreign to me. But I will confess I’ve come to enjoy the opportunities I’ve had to get to know this part of the country better.

At first, the desert was just a lot of sand and cactus to me, flat and brown and dry. But my eyes have learned to differentiate a much wider spectrum of colors and textures on the desert floor than I’d ever expected. It’s not always brown. But even when it is, who knew there were so many shades of brown?

Along the border here, you get a much more visceral sense of the appeal of America. The big steel wall that separates downtown Nogales, Arizona, from downtown Nogales, Mexico, is pockmarked with patches where people from Central and South American and who knows where else, anxious to taste the American dream, have apparently not thought twice about the wisdom of trying to cut their way through the wall at one of its most heavily guarded points.

The guards on the U.S. side of the border will speak if spoken to, but confine their answers to one-syllable responses that don’t reveal much. I don’t know of any other place in the United States where I can count on being stopped by police on the northbound interstate highway to make sure I’m not carrying illegal immigrants in the trunk of my rental car.

If the weather’s nice today, maybe I’ll jump across the border into Mexico myself and see what there is to see on the other side. Might be good for a few pictures and a story.


  1. Please do! If only for the adventure of it!

  2. Now that would make a good post! Adios, amigo!