Hot. It’s hot and dry in this scalding Arizona desert. The deodorant under my arms is a joke; my arms glisten with sweat as they swing back and forth against my body, sticky patches sucking to the cotton dress I’m wearing. Each time skin contacts skin, a wet glisten appears, creating invisible rivers along my body. I cross my legs at the table, stuffing the skirt of the cotton dress between my legs to prevent them from sticking.
I’m parched. My feet stick in my black shoes. I can’t gulp water fast enough, and the sun beats down on my skin rhythmically, melodically, unendingly – like a song on repeat without ending. It’s only been a few hours’ back in Arizona, and already my cheeks are pink from the sun. My freckles threaten to pop all over my arms. I’m getting more sunshine in three hours than I do in years in San Francisco.
I spray sunscreen fleetingly, almost inconsequentially, battling my white skin against the sun with long-sleeved loose t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, and bottles of sunscreen. It will only take a few days before my hair pops blond again, absorbing the rays of the sun into all parts of my body.
At the lunch table, my phone blinks warningly: temperature! temperature! I’ve not seen this warning before, so I – ouch! That’s hot! – I grab my phone and it’s hot, melting, black in the sun. Probably not the best idea to let it sit outside on the table. The phone is frying up. The day heats up and by four o’clock I go outside, by the pool, a small respite in the Tucson desert, and I sit, toes dipping in over the edge. At over 100 each day, the pool heats up to 85 or so, only cooling in the evenings when the thunderstorms roll in.
For a minute, I succumb to the warmth; I feel like I’m in a sauna, a bikram yoga class, a place warm under the covers. I lean back against the concrete and feel the pulse of the sun’s energy radiate through the hard material. I spread my arms out, basking in the sunshine, letting it tell me everything is okay. The sun is like my unseen father, a spirit, a wayfinder perhaps, and I fall back, alone, silent, still, and lie against the concrete. The world is quiet, a soft menagerie of desert animals and their rustling creating a soft white noise as they move in an effort to also escape the heat. The trickle of the pool’s water filter drips and I lethargically flick my foot upwards; splashes. Water drops sizzle and evaporate quickly against the concrete next to me, painting dark ruddy oranges against the muted orange concretes. Behind me, the adobe house stands firmly, baking, cocooning humans inside it’s coolness against the otherwise blindingly hot desert.
At the fenceline, by the back of the pool, a roadrunner darts into the yard and then out, racing against the fence in a blur of motion. The tiny legs spin as fast as a hummingbirds’ wings, indecipherable by the human eye. To me, it’s just a blur. A rush of crickets chatter noisily, whirring loudly like a rustling wind, and then quiet again. And I lie there, against the heat, holding onto the concrete, prone flat against the earth, grounding my body into being here, into accepting the heat, into accepting the fate, into the pressing moment.