Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 23, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Downtown Scottsdale


And just like that, two weeks in the desert sun have evaporated. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I’m really busy and engaged or inactive and slothful; the relentless ticking of my life’s clock still amazes me. But time is about the only thing that evaporates around here. Every day, I take a peek at the weather early in the morning and it’s always the same: sunny with a 0% chance of rain. But this should not be surprising as Phoenix is situated in the Sonoran desert, otherwise known as “The Valley of the Sun.”

One interesting feature of the Phoenix area that I have never seen before is something called a “wash.” Washes look like dried up river beds but they are filled with all manner of vegetation. Many of these washes are actually artificially irrigated to keep plant life alive. Washes concentrate water and nutrients from a large area and serve as dispersal corridors for plants and animals.

It is hard to imagine how people decided to set down roots in the middle of a desert. But it is not hard to imagine how this has affected nature’s delicate balance. A recent New York Times story spoke about the looming water crisis in the Phoenix area as expansion continues relentlessly. I still believe that water is going to be the next battleground between our countries as the U.S. tries to slake its unquenchable thirst. And, if you believe in climate change (the proliferation of wild fires et al) the water problems will continue to escalate.

I’m staying with friends who live in a fairly new development in the north east part of the city. Like the rest of the area, it was carved out of the desert. You can walk 10 minutes from where I’m staying and be standing smack in the middle of the desert. Mother Nature has noticed this. It is not uncommon to encounter snakes, scorpions and coyotes in the wash areas. In order to get the dogs out to a nearby park for their morning “constitutional”, one has to walk through a wash area… something that the locals do all the time as they are sometimes connectors of streets.

I have yet to encounter a snake or a scorpion but coyote sightings are commonplace. I saw one the other evening at the end of my walk not 100 yards from my house and Friday evening past, I was out walking Daisy when another couple coming from the opposite direction warned me of three coyotes in the wash a few feet away. My hosts told me early on that these coyotes will not bother you and are frightened of humans. I have yet to test this theory.

I have gone to Scottsdale a few times as it forms part of Greater Phoenix and is only a 30 minute drive from my house. Scottsdale is driven by tourism and is a well-known golf destination. The first time I went there with my hostess, Lisa. She was doing a bit of shopping at Nordstrom’s. My aversion to shopping is well known by regular readers. Luckily, Nordstrom’s realizes that having a place for non-shoppers to sit is good for business. I chose the women’s shoe section which was a few feet away from one of the entrances, in case I started having heart palpitations. I wasn’t the only man sitting there, btw.

I was to discover later that this wasn’t just any shoe section. This store is massive and there were other locations in the store to buy footwear. I found it odd that there were six nattily attired sales people serving customers in this one small corner of the store. That was until Lisa informed me later at a coffee shop that shoes in this section start at $600 US. It was fascinating to watch the go ahead as the mostly male staff served this obviously high end female clientele. I doubt that I have spent $600 in footwear in the past five years since I stopped buying expensive sneakers for running.

Because tourism is everything in Scottsdale, I was not surprised to learn that parking throughout the city is free. This includes parking garages. I think I could easily live in Scottsdale but I’m afraid I’d have to go barefoot!

I’ll be heading north and west on Wednesday as I make my way to Victoria, my favourite city in Canada.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. Please turn the heat up when I return in early May!

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