The Last of Tuesday's Daylight


Right out the back door I'm looking at a juxtaposition I can't quite reconcile because Phoenix doesn't see that much snow. Ever. The last time it snowed in Phoenix was 1998 and a whopping .22 inches of precipitation was measured. There were a few flakes involved but nothing hit the ground. Not at Sky Harbor, anyway. 

The Phoenix mountain ranges circle the valley. Depending on the time of year and the weight of pollution in the air, these mountains change their ensemble about as often as a classroom full of five year olds with a trunk full of somebody else's clothes. Every five minutes on a good day.

This is what they look like when the air is benevolent; no purples, pinks, or wild shades of orange, just this incredible light. I spent enough time in Phoenix, I'd know that range anywhere.


Off to the right you see a path through the snow that might have been an escaped dog heading for the meadow. The depth of fly-away powder is about 18 inches at the path but as you turn the bend toward the forest another six inches has accumulated; protected from the wind that blows it against the house and trees in four foot drifts. You can fly through the stuff and with snow shoes you might not even notice. Definitely not the Southwest.

The mountains are covered with snow and the peaks of Mad River and Sugarbush would have been downright miraculous. They are only orange for a brief few weeks in the fall. From my vantage, this view is 135 degrees Southeast and my elevation is 1450 and it is 4:37 PM. I've come out to watch the sunset which is happening off and slightly behind my right shoulder.

Sunset was only a little pink on the 18th and not worth the storage space on my phone because it's given its light to the east where Helios beats back the night at about 7:20 these days. A spectacular display even in the mist that rolls over the mountains like a half frozen ocean. I don't understand the why and how of it and haven't bothered to find out. It might kill the magic.


The path in the snow is mine. Heading toward the compost heap in the forest, I galloped through mostly level snow, turned right and fell forward into a thigh deep well. I was wearing boots. Snow boots do not come up to your thighs. You're thinking of waders. I wasn't wearing snow pants and that was good because I could feel it through a wool base layer and thermal leggings (yup. that's a thing up here). I wasn't cold or wet, just out of breath on the way back up the hill because up is almost always more work than down. Despite the wild fluctuations in temperature, it's hard to accept the fact of winter when it keeps coming above 36. Thigh deep fluffy snow took care of that confusion with the added bonus of the Phoenix sunset. 


In the brief moment when there and here and then and now collide, I miss my brother because we've sidestepped from the Northeast peaks to the desert that is Eloy and back again. Those mountains are a portal into a lifetime of memory and love. I'm here now and he is not but the last of Tuesday's daylight...