Fall has finally arrived to the Valley. All the little ants are marching outside to soak up every ray of daylight. All of us. On bicycles. On patios, sipping coffee in the morning and chardonnay in the late afternoon. On foot, in the parks in the mornings — with gaggles of children wrapped up like they are members of a hockey team, and strings of dogs, wagging their tails and heads in unison. In dusty convertibles, letting our hair get tangled in the wind. Collectively, in the last week we have all turned toward the sun and shaken a fist.
Dear Giant Ball of Gas in the Sky: we survived you. Again. We didn’t think we would, but we did. There were seriously some days there in August when we thought about giving in. But we remembered there is no dignity in a cherry red sunburn in Arizona. It just makes you seem like you either don’t understand the basics of life, or have a zip code in Manitoba or Minnesota or Maine. (Wear sunscreen, carry water, have a hat nearby. Always. Never hike Camelback in jeans, or flip flops.)
Yes. Fall has finally arrived. Yes. We are smug and we are a bit tan and we are so entitled to the next six months of bragging about why, “THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY WE LIVE IN PHOENIX.”
This afternoon I drove down Central on my way back to the office after a quick lunch. A group of coworkers were crossing at a streetlight, heading back into one of the many glass skyscrapers, tucked just off the street behind rows of tall, aging date palms. A woman in an animated conversation I could not hear, but couldn’t help but imagine, walked two steps ahead of her other coworkers, babbling on with her bright blond head going back and forth.
I looked at my car’s temperature gage: 86. I looked back at her.
Only in Phoenix does 86 mean skinny jeans, tall boots, a leather jacket and scarf.
I am trying to do my best to welcome this season and the many changes of this year. I’ve had both feet either on the gas or the brakes, and only now, in October, am I deciding to just go with what comes my way. Cruise control. Neutral. There is no use in fighting. I’ve lost three grandparents in the last year, and our family dog is on her way to canine nirvana. (She hopes to return, yet again, as my mother’s prized child.) I’ve moved across country twice. I have written much of a new novel, fallen madly in love, eaten lox on the Highline, and left my mark on the landscape by planting detailed gardens for the neighborhood deer.
Life is never ending entropy. Get in, hold on, grab a cold margarita — and, apparently, don’t forget your leather jacket.