I just returned from a trip to the southwest, Phoenix to be exact. It is a lovely time to visit the city, when the types of things you like to do in the summer in the northern part of the country are suddenly available to you in the winter.
I lived there for a brief amount of time, which I enjoyed, but which I also found to be terribly confronting. It is a city that lets you realize your level of comfortableness — what I mean is that is is an easy place to live. The town itself, presents its aura as less California, not quite Las Vegas, but somewhere in between where people from both of those places and move to and find that it is cheaper, the buildings are new and there is a progressive urban scene, but one that is also family orientated and focused on the future. I found that Phoenix stifled my ability to be creative, and didn’t allow me to express myself fully, maybe because I struggled to find those groups of people with which I find most of my enjoyment and entertainment with, but mostly because I feel into a routine that didn’t challenge me to get out of it — it was easy.
I blame myself.
But then sometimes when you are there, when the heat isn’t oppressive and the sun is shining down on you, finding those places in the city where there is no traffic, little noise and the wind is blowing as if there is a hint of opportunity in the air — those small places and times in Phoenix are great. It is such a refreshing feeling, comforting and also calming — Phoenix is nothing if not calming (proven by the amount of resorts and spa’s there) but finding these calming quite places is challenging when your tied to a routine, or to your car. It’s be walking around the city, around the neighborhood, around your community when you find these gems of solitude, giving you the ability to contemplate your day, your afternoon and your evening. I often found that the orange trees near where I used to live smelled amazing in the morning and evening, but you would never have found that out by moving past in your car at 30 mph.
I respect the city now, but still can’t quite commit to it long-term.
0 thoughts on “Contradiction”
Jesse, I know you posted this over a month ago but I’m commenting now anyway. I think that in Princeton I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut. I blame lack of money. Or imagination. Mostly it’s probably just laziness. And yet I think I had a moment like your orange tree a few weeks ago when we got dumped on with about 18 inches of snow. Jake and I were driving in from Boston (he may have told you this?) and pulled into town at the end of the blizzard. We walked inside and then turned right around to walk the dusk-lit streets, unplowed, vacant. Under a thick body of snow it was like the whole town changed (or, I was able to smell the orange tree!).
And then we spent the next ninety minutes shoveling the driveway.
Ruts are hard — and I find that no one can really pinpoint when they start or happen, but those moments are the times when we can see through the “fog” so to speak. Refreshing? Yes, but also, sometimes, really frustrating as well.
So funny that you went for a walk and then shoveled the driveway, the mix of thoughtful action combined with necessity.