I miss home so much sometimes. You know, I love Washington dearly, and I wouldn’t want to live in Arizona again, but I grew up in dry country. It got right down into my soul and it’s me. I’m looking at photos of that high desert with the cacti and the lizards and the rocks – so many rocks everywhere – and I remember how it smelled and tasted and felt. I remember the wind. I remember the relentless sun. There is nothing quite like that sun.
And it’s definitely dry. Bone dry. Suck-the-moisture-from-your-skin dry.
So those places where there’s water, they become magical. They’re completely enchanting, in a way I can’t explain to someone who’s used to seeing creeks and streams and rivers with actual water in them. To come to a place in summer, and see cool, clear water flowing over the rocks in the desert, continuously, makes you stop and stare and question your senses, because it doesn’t quite seem possible. And then you sit, and you let the water speak to you. There is nothing on earth like the sound of a waterfall singing in dry country.
This one was unexpected.
The Sinagua came to this desert over a thousand years ago and found this one place where water never stopped flowing, and they tamed it. They dug canals and contained it and directed it to their crops. Portions of those canals still exist. You can go and sit beside one, and listen to the water flow, under the shade of enormous old trees. When my intrepid companion and I visited Montezuma Well, some of the water had escaped the canal and was dancing merrily over the path, leaping down the hill to the creek. I got my feet into it. I laughed in delight. I wanted to stay there forever. And right now, I would give almost anything to go back.
But only for a visit, because fuck Arizona politicians.
Per Stephanie Zvan’s request, I’ll be doing a post about the geology of Montezuma Well over at Rosetta Stones soon. I’m just wating for an expert answer on one detail, and then I will be able to tell you something you won’t find in any easily-searchable source. How neat is that?