Lessons from the Desert


This summer, my husband and I celebrated living in Arizona for a decade. That practically makes us locals, right?! Along the way, we’ve learned a few lessons from the desert.

Summer Lessons from the Desert

  • Gone are the days of a cool summer breeze blowing over a midwestern lake. The Arizona “summer breeze” feels like a hairdryer aimed at your face.
  • “It’s a dry heat”… This is true. The heat doesn’t feel quite as bad here. We’re pretty comfortable until the thermometer hits 113 degrees. Then it’s just hot, but at least it’s not too humid.
  • The heat is a dangerous thing. You have to be careful about what you store in your garage – it’s hot! I’m talking about you, photos and candles! You also have to be careful about what you leave in your car – your favorite chapstick will be a puddle by 10am.
  • Splash pads are an amazing invention. Pack a picnic and let your kids play in the water. Nobody will mind if you run through the splash pad a few times, too. 
  • Whether you’re hanging a damp beach towel or line drying your clothes, you’ll be amazed at how fast this dry desert air can suck up any moisture. Go for an afternoon swim and your towel will be dry by dinner time!
  • While we don’t have all the summer concerts the Midwest is known for, from September through May the Valley has your social calendar booked. Whether you like music or cultural festivals, there’s something for everyone! Best of all, kids aren’t forgotten – there are so many activities you couldn’t do them all if you tried!
  • After days and weeks of nothing but sunshine, who can complain about the occasional cloudy day during monsoon?! Bonus if your toddler takes an extra long nap because their room is so dark.
  • The monsoon is both wonderful and a little scary. Rain is something to be admired. Whether it’s a group of people at your office staring out the window or your sweet children puddle jumping, there’s something magical about a rainy day in the desert.

Fall and Winter Lessons From the Desert

  • No matter how “cool” our autumn is, you can’t carve your pumpkin too early or you’ll have a moldy mess on your step! Aim for a few nights before Halloween, most years.
  • In the midwest, you might worry about teenagers smashing your pumpkins if you leave them on your porch. They may even freeze overnight if the weather gets cold early. In Arizona, you have to worry about attracting javelinas with that sweet, ripe pumpkin smell. 
  • Don’t change your clocks – there’s no “falling back” or “springing forward” in most of Arizona. Unfortunately, some clocks auto adjust to daylight savings time, even though we don’t participate.
  • Snow is just a car ride away. If you’re nervous about leaving somewhere cold and snowy, have no fear, Flagstaff is just a few hour drive away. Most likely, you won’t miss it though…and as the locals say, you don’t have to shovel sunshine.

The Joys of Desert Living

When people picture the desert, they think of dust, cacti, and tumbleweeds. In reality, Arizona’s landscape is so diverse. Drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

Speaking of beautiful things, there is SO MUCH public art! You could spend days driving around the Valley taking it all in.

No matter where you live, people think that’s where the nicest people around are… Midwesterners are known for waving at strangers. People in the South are known for their hospitality. I think Arizonans are the most welcoming of all! My theory is that so many people move here and remember what it’s like to be “the new kid.”

What lessons have you learned from the desert?


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