July 27, 2006

It's not easy being green

This is how many taxi's and queues it takes to get from Oklahoma City to Mesa Arizona. (For Carrie, the wait-time measuring sock is Opal sockyarn #3207)

Sockoktoaz

This

Shawloktoaz

is how long the flight from Oklahoma City to Phoenix is. (I may have accidentally fallen asleep on the flight and missed some knit time there. Your mileage may vary.)

I am, more or less, a "green" person. I am always impressed with the greeness of things. A forest or the tropics, lush, overgrown, verdant, ripe green places move me.

The desert stunned me. When I got here yesterday, the lack of true green was the first thing that I noticed. There are many trees, yes, there are many plants...yes, but everything is a silver green, or a gray green, or a blue green...There is, to the untrained eye, very little deep jewel green in Mesa. It is a remarkable, beautiful thing, this absence of a colour that I take for granted as part of my landscape in Toronto. It's a whole other sort of stunning.

As I rode in to town everything looked to be so dry, and sparse...and all the plants looked completely exhausted. I went for a walk in the afternoon and was struck by the complete lack of foot or bike traffic. I was the only soul to be on foot, and after I had walked only a half block or so, I totally got it.

This place is HOT. Too hot to walk. Too hot to breathe really. (I tried.) I understood suddenly, why the plants were exhausted looking. So was I. The only thing about me that was not instantly limp and desperate was my enormous heat inspired hair. In a move that surprised even me, since I usually love the heat, I was driven back inside the air-conditioned hotel in mere minutes and was never more grateful for the cool air that met me in the lobby. I briefly considered falling on the cool tile of the hotel room lobby and asking the concierge to simply pour water over me until I was restored. Hot. Stupid hot. Really hot. This place is much, much closer to the sun. The heat is pure. (This experience is made even more remarkable by the people of Mesa who kept saying how nice it was that I had come when it was "cool". Cool? (I kept thinking of that line from the Princess Bride "You keep using that word...I don't think in means what you think it means...")

The sock saw Cacti...

Csockcactus

and there are palm trees...

Palmskysan

(That's for Sandy...a palm tree sky!) but most all of the other plants had wee shriveled leaves and a few limp blooms.

As deflated as the heat left me, the natives were in no way effected. Does my cab driver Vladi look too hot?

Vladi

(I mean temperature wise, ya bunch of filthy minded knitters. You now what I meant.) Note the sun scorching in behind him. I was hustled (in air-conditioned comfort) to The Fiber Factory, and the minute I arrived I saw huge metre long Navajo spindles lying on a shelf by the back door. (If I could have got one in my suitcase I totally would have. What a cool souvenir of Arizona, eh?) I gathered myself quietly in the back room while the absolutely entertaining owners of the place hustled coffee and microphones and cake around. If you're ever in the area of Mesa, drop in. The store is spectacularly well appointed (tons of stuff for spinning and knitting and weaving and basket making and millions of books) and the staff is charming, hysterically funny and extraordinarily well organized. Terri and Susan made for a fabulous "back stage" show as they hustled their stuff.

Here's what the sock saw.

Azcrowwd

My Arizona peeps, and more than Arizona represented.

Stephanie brought me beautiful things from Arizona (A beautiful batt she made that's just the colour of Bursage, and magnets made from the photos of desert flowers she took while hiking. (This pleased me more than I can tell you, since my deepest regret about Mesa is that I didn't have time to go to the desert.) She has a shop here, should you wish for your own desert inspired lovliness. Annette was there, and Jude and Lynn and Pam and Becky and more. Sing out in the comments ladies.

The Arizona Stitch & Bitch turned out in full force...with their socks.

Sabaz

Cerridwen arrived, sock in tow.

Azcerridwen

Carrie was there (mother of one of the most beautiful children in the world.) and Lyn and Rob wanted to shout out out to Big Lynne, a friend who reads the blog.

Bobandlynsh

Hope came through big time for me, bringing me...

Hopebeer

a good beer. A shiner bock beer. Not only did she bring me a beer (which really, is more than I could have ever, ever hoped for) but the woman froze it before she came and then transported it via cooler and ice pack, and presented it to me totally frosty. It was still wicked cold by the time I got back to the hotel, and since I had completely overheated walking the three metres from the car to the hotel door (What is with that? It was 10:00 at night! Shouldn't it cool off when the big ball of fire in the sky goes away?) I enjoyed it completely when I collapsed in my hotel room minutes later. Drinking good beer is the last thing I remember doing yesterday. Hope rocks.

When I woke up this morning, it was raining. This surprised me, but a little google-fu has revealed that Phoenix has a monsoon season, just like India. It was the most incredible thing to watch...the storm moving across the desert and the hills. You could watch the dark front line of the storm ahead of the rain...the part that is a wall of dust that moves in front of the whole thing. (I think my cab driver said is was called "haboob")

Azmons

Beautiful, yes? I wish I could have caught the lightning. The storm moved along, leaving the air steamy and warm and the hills started to come out of the mist again.

Aftermon

I left for the airport and as I stepped outside I couldn't believe the change. What had been dry and arid the day before was green and lush instantly. Bushes and flowers that had not been blooming 20 hours earlier were sitting in the light rain, covered in blossoms. Everything looked grateful and ripe and the rain sticking to everything leant a depth of colour to all the things around me that the heat of the day before hadn't allowed. It was incredible. It was like the whole place just woke up in the rain. You should have been there. Go to the desert. Find the knitters.

Thank you Mesa Arizona, and Hello New Mexico!

Posted by Stephanie at July 27, 2006 5:21 PM