Last night we slept with the window open. This brought me an inexplicable amount of joy. Something about the fresh air….bringing a bit of the outdoors inside….has lifted my spirits considerably. Not that my spirits were down. After all, I do live in the paradise of Arizona with the love of my life, and I am semi-retired.
I am an outdoor girl, solar powered. I was raised near the beach in Long Island, NY and have always lived for summer. Moving to Tempe gave summer a whole new meaning. I could sit out by the pool in February. The water was too cold to jump in, but the rays were strong and the air was warm. February/March was my annual pilgrimage to visit my family when I lived on the east coast. I love the Arizona heat. Yes, it is a dry heat. The humidity basically ranges between 15 and 40 percent. As a New Yorker, accustomed to bouts of 100 percent humidity, I did not really understand how that translates into your body. My mom keeps her house at 80. This was unbearable to me. I would run to her thermostat and adjust it to a normal 75ish. I thought it was because she wanted to keep her electric bill down. Now after my 3rd summer here I too keep my house at 80 during the day.
In the height of the summer the night time lows were in the 90’s. The pool temperatures were between 90 and 95. Abundant blazing sun baked the water for hours on end. Often the pool was so hot it did not even provide relief. Here in the desert our pools come with aerators: little mini fountains that shoot the water into the air to cool it. Daytime highs averaged around 105, spiking up to 115. I can honestly say that 105 in the shade is bearable.Too hot to sit out on a lounge chair, I had a variety of floats that served me well. Often we would swim at night, when the air was still above 90. We were amazed at the goosebumps chilling our skin coming out of the pool due to the lack of humidity. As the arc of the sun now wanes, the duration and intensity of the sun decreases and the pool temp is below 80. Brrrr.
At the summer equinox the sun rises at 5:15am. If I wanted to get in my morning walk or run, I had to begin by 5:30 or it was simply too hot. Today, just past the autumnal equinox, the sun rises at 6:15. It was 61 degrees out and truly felt like fall: cool, clean, crisp air. I was on the local canal path pre-dawn at 6am for my run, and the place was packed with joggers and groups of cyclists. Arizona is normally a friendly place but today everyone seemed especially smiley. People were wearing long sleeves. Some of the elderly were donning hoods. I actually had on leggings instead of shorts. My hair was in a ponytail instead of a bun. At 105 degrees long hair is a huge liability. There was a slightly different spring in my step as my mind wandered to the innumerable fall runs back east. Here there are no crunchy leaves, no acorns to dodge, no carpet of colors to admire, no apples to pick. I can certainly drink a pumpkin spice latte this afternoon, but might prefer it iced as the temperature will probably hover around 90.
I’ll take it. In a few short months we will be shopping for a Christmas tree (in our flip flops). The sun will rise as late as 7:30am and I will be anxiously pacing the house waiting for daylight before my morning run. We will light the fireplace and turn on the heat. But tonight I will sleep with my window open.