A Seasonal Love Affair

As a Midwest boy, born and bred, I never anticipated this later-in-life attraction for the desert. It’s axiomatic that a person tends to prefer the surroundings that were imprinted on him during childhood, just as your parents religion tends to be yours, and your preferences for food are often right out of your mother’s cookbook. Like it or not, we’re indoctrinated during childhood and neither reason nor reality have much to do with most of our attitudes, preferences, and prejudices.

But my indoctrination to Midwest lush green summers and white frozen winters has faded away in the last few years. Driven by the invention of the wheel and the innovation of putting several of them under your house, adding a motor, and being able to move from one place to another at will, a nomad with a calendar can seek out an optimal environment for living. Perfect all-the-time places only exist in fiction, so to maximize enjoyment one must move once in a while.

Not yet strong or tough enough to sample the desert in the summer, I have fallen in love with her for the winter. The day-long low angle of sunlight and the resulting vistas of popping color, shapes, and shadows; varied landscape reliefs; cool dry air (but warm by Midwest winter standards); unusual interesting plant life; burrowed and sleeping snakes (not a fan of snakes); vast expanses of public lands; and a proper shortage of other people… these are the things I’ve come to love in her.

As so often happens to lovers, the affair is intense but short-lived. Flirtations from other temptresses are noticed… then felt… and eventually lure the fickle nomad to stray. That, and the knowledge that your seasonal desert mistress is going to turn into a hot bitch, too hot to handle, as she does every year, mean it’s time to move on.

But I know, deep down, I’ll be back again. That “feeling” never seems to dissipate completely.
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