This weekend made me realize why I love where I live. Colder temperatures have driven most of the summer people back to Phoenix and Tucson and our little mountain community is settling back down to its normal, peaceful atmosphere.
Saturday was quite cold and extremely windy, but people bundled up and sat on the curb of our main street to watch the annual “Nutty for Nature” parade. It was so cold that honestly, if I had not had two children in the parade, I would never have considered leaving my warm house at 8AM to sit on the curb in the wind. But, motherly duties forced me out of my snug den and onto the chilly street. Much to my surprise, it was an uplifting experience.
My children’s small Montessori school had a “float” in the parade. The “float” was entirely designed and constructed by the students. I use the term “float” loosely, since we are not talking Rose Bowl quality floral here, but rather flatbed truck and bales of hay, but you get the idea.
The children were all vibrating with excited anticipation at the idea of riding on a “float” in a real parade. Surprisingly, judging by the large turnout, people were actually in attendance who did not even have children in the parade! Joy was in the fall air as the firefighters and floats filled with happy children drove by waving and laughing. Even the inevitable Shriners on their funny motorcycles were a hit with the crowd.
As if that wasn’t enough excitement, Sunday was “free ski pass for kids day” at the local ski area. Kids bring a can of food to donate to needy families, recite one rule (by heart) from the “Skiers’ Code,” and they can get a free season’s ski pass, worth hundreds of dollars.
It was a perfect fall day. Still cold, but the wind had disappeared. After getting our ski passes, we took a lift ride to the top of the mountain. We glided silently up through massive stands of aspen trees which glowed bright yellow against an impossibly blue sky. The air became chillier and chillier as we approached the top of the mountain.
Upon leaving the lift at the summit, it felt like being on the very top of the world. The clear dry Arizona air allows for a view that must be at least 80 miles in every direction. Not a sign of human habitation is visible in that view. Simply mountains and plains stretching out forever.
What I learned (or relearned) this weekend:
– I love living in a town where people cheerfully brave cold, windy weather simply to wave at excited children driving by on pickup trucks filled with hay and handmade cardboard cutout animals.
– I love it that I can stand on a mountain on a beautiful fall day and admire a stunning view of nature that remains unchanged by humans.
– I love where I live!