Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Wonders of Arizona

It was a short drive yesterday of about four hours (but a high and lifting one—from 1398 feet elevation to 7000) from Casa Grande to Flagstaff, AZ.  We settled into our KOA campsite where we will be living for the next four days while visiting with and being visited by our grandchildren, Ethan and Eleni.  Luke, Kim, and children came to the campground after school.  Ethan and Eleni knocked on the RV door as is their custom, prompting their grandad to sing: “Who’s that knocking at my door.”    We were given a tour of their school and then went to their home, enjoying special time:  a great dinner, listening to Eleni practice her piano and Ethan play his trombone.  Snow is expected today and tomorrow in Flagstaff, but it should not interfere with our visiting plans.  

As a young boy I read Zane Grey’s western novels of Arizona and New Mexico and dreamed of one day visiting this romantic southwest he described so eloquently. (Never did I dream that my son and family would one day live here). I can remember my first encounter with this American west in 1962 and whenever I return to it, I am caught up in its magnificence. While it is true that the land has been mismanaged, damaged, and despoiled by nature’s worst enemy (us) it still retains a beauty beyond words (or at least my words).  This morning I have enjoyed reading the words of others attempting to describe this Arizona where I am privileged to be at the moment.

“Arizona is a land of contrasts geologically, racially, socially, and culturally. Its mountains tower a mile or more into the air; the rivers have cut miles deep into the multicolored earth. Snow lingers on the peaks while the valleys are sweet with the fragrance of orange blossoms. Here are sere deserts and the largest pine forest in the world. Here are fallen forests turned to stone, and forests of trees that have survived the slow change from jungle to desert by turning their leaves to thorns.” (Arizona: A State Guide, 1940).

It is doubtful if any other area of equal extent in the world has greater diversity of natural phenomena than Arizona. From desert tracts to valleys of extraordinary fertility; from torrid heat to frigid cold, from lowland to highland, from plains as level as a floor to a succession of frightful gulches and cañons that amaze the beholder; from solitude to populous cities; from savage squalor and filth to civilized purity and refinement, from the simplest plant to the giant cactus, from rainfall to brightest sunshine... almost anything that can be imagined can be found in this delightful clime.” (A Historical and Biographical Record of the Territory of Arizona, 1896).

And here I am—in Arizona!  And far better still, I am here visiting our son and his family!  Who could ask for more at 74?
Grand Canyon (North Rim) - 2016

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