Desert in Bloom

I'm sitting on a plane, overlooking the mountains, Philadelphia-bound and freshly 26 as of a few minutes ago. I met my mother in Tucson and got to spend the past few days with my Arizona family, fitting in a few sights to that I'm excited to share here. I didn't notice until after traipsing around with my mom that I had a running theme of finding blooms in the desert.  As I'm looking back at my pictures I'm incredibly jealous of the few more days she has there. Spring is alive and well, in a place you would usually consider dry, and on the desolate side of things.

I spent a lot of time in Arizona when I was growing up. When I was 5, we helped move my godmother's family out there from New York, on a trip that both of our families remember very clearly and have dozens of stories about. A four day drive that included me leaving my crayons on the back seat of our family van, (which if you've ever been in a car in the desert you know that didn't end well for the seat fabric), watching White Men Can't Jump with all the older kids in a motel, probably much earlier than was appropriate, really horrendous smells coming from the cattle farms we drove by, and my late father singing along to every song on the radio but not knowing any of the words. At 5 years old, it was the textbook definition of an adventure, and my memories of it have this warm glow around them, like I'm looking at old film slides of our family caravan making its way through the Southwest.  

Since then I've been back more times than I can remember. I've traveled more extensively across that state than any other, and have always felt simultaneously fascinated, and at home in that landscape. Walking all the way down Sabino Canyon had my mother and I marveling at the running streams and blooms sprouting between rocks. It was a great time of year to be out in nature here. If you're in the general vicinity, watching the sun rise at the Mission San Xavier del Bac is worth getting out of bed before 6. Go on a weekday morning and you'll have the whole place to yourself. Take the tram all the way to the top of Sabino Canyon and walk all the way down (the last little stretch is brutal, but worth it). This is such a small excerpt from the vastly beautiful area, but it's serving my memory well, and nudging me to start planning the next trip back.