We choose to put up with moreSAM COOK: One morning last weekend, I rose early and took my book to the patio. No breeze stirred. The water in the pool was glass. Nobody else was up.
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
One morning last weekend, I rose early and took my book to the patio. No breeze stirred. The water in the pool was glass. Nobody else was up.
A pair of mourning doves cooed. Grackles patrolled the Bermuda grass. A gecko, a tiny lizard, looked painted on the concrete-block wall.
I sat in a T-shirt and shorts, still mildly astounded that this was possible on a morning in April.
I hadn’t come to Phoenix for the sun, but I knew it would be a refreshing contrast to a Minnesota winter that was overstaying its welcome. Still, I was not prepared for the spell it cast on me.
Visiting Phoenix from Minnesota in April makes you question every decision you’ve ever made in life. When I told someone that the other day, a woman across the room turned, looked right at me and said, “That’s exactly the way I felt.”
I was in the Phoenix area to visit two of my best friends from college, one of whom lives there. I hadn’t seen him for 23 years, and we had some catching up to do. The three of us sat on the patio for hours on end, sharing the stories of our lives, seeing who we turned out to be.
My Arizona friend had visited Phoenix from the Midwest 40 years ago. He couldn’t see any reason to leave. A lot of people could tell a similar story.
If you are from someplace where winter falls from the sky and piles up around you, Arizona seems almost too good to be true. Yes, it’s too hot for much of the summer. But there is air conditioning. The streets are impeccably smooth and clean. Sidewalks perfect. Grass coiffed. Garages spotless.
There are no frost heaves, potholes, icy patches or flying insects. No broken water mains, wind off the lake, sand in the streets or snow shovels leaning against the deck. What strikes the northern visitor — hits you between the eyes, really — is the sudden realization that you might have chosen to put up with more adversity in your life than was really necessary.
Yes, when you hike South Mountain on the edge of Phoenix, you will see a lot of people. And like most of those people, you’ll want to be off the trail by 11 a.m. when the sun becomes too much. Even in April. But you can learn to work around the sun.
I have been struck by the ease of life on other winter getaways — Mexico, the Caribbean, Guatemala. But perhaps those were too exotic, too far away. Maybe it was the language barrier. None seemed as accessible and easy as Arizona.
I’m back now. I’ve shoveled once. I’m OK.
I love it here. I don’t think I could live in Phoenix. Maybe it just seems too easy. Truth be told, I kind of like a little rain in my face, or skiing into a northwest wind across a wilderness lake.
But I’m not going to wait so long to see my buddy in Arizona again.