At last! At last! June third has arrived. I am not counting June 1st, since it was rainy and cold, and it snowed heavily in the mountains that day. But today, the sun is out early with the promise of heat. Selah!
I do like the high desert. I have lived here most of my life. I find when I visit either coast, my dry skin stops itching leaving me nothing about which to fidget, my hair softens and hangs, my sinuses seem to annoyingly swell. It’s that wet heat that gets me.
There are trees on the coasts. Lots of them. Lovely, but intimidating after a few days; dark at night, hanging over the roads, hiding who knows what animals that shreik and rustle the leaves. Have you ever heard a meerkat in the woods? Like a baby crying, shudder. It’s no wonder so many great, scary tales originate in New England. And don’t forget the Pacific Northwest, with its rain and mudslides and apple maggots…oh, Lord…just the thought of an apple maggot. And moose crossings. Oh, and Big Foot!
The gardens do grow lush on the wet edges of the country; the rose buds in Santa Barbara are as big as your fist – I’m talking a grown person’s fist. You can pick pomegranates from your neighbor’s tree on the way to school, if you are inclined, though your blood red stained lips and teeth and fingers leave no question about what you’ve been up to. There are camelias, and oleanders, and giant redwoods in California. And eucalyptus trees with trunks as large as houses. Pity the sidewalks where the trees grow tall; they crack and heave…murder on little knees trying to roller skate to the corner and back. Sidewalk surfing generally involves a split lip or bloody knee or two. The Florida coast is flat, and wind blown, and sandy, sandy, sandy clear into town. Palmetto bugs, big and ugly and everywhere; geckoes, and citrus rats – shiver – Flowering jacarandas and towering kapok trees, and grapefruit trees calling out for a steal when no one is looking. And peacocks in the old orchard, and mermaids, REAL mermaids, in Weeki Watchee!
Yeah, there is much to be said about life on the coasts… great views, great seafood, great people, but mildew and mosquitoes and silverfish, and killer fogs with ghost ships lurking. Here on the Colorado plains we too have great views, great Mexican food, great people (though many have only recently moved here and have brought their politics and over the top lifestyles with them), flies and brown recluse spiders and rattlesnakes and tales of crazy pioneer hatchet ladies…in New Mexico we had tarantulas and quick lizards with blue tails, oh, and scorpions (always check your shoes and socks before putting them on), and aliens – so they say.
All the old cliches apply: “To each his own.” “Bloom where you’re planted.” “You can’t fix stupid” uh, not that one…. Suffice it to say that at the end of the day, Dorothy was right… despite the call of the wild, the temptations of travel, lunch in the luxe of an old gangster’s pink hotel, “There’s no place like home.”