As I walk along the streets of Arizona, I note a few things; the vast blue skies, the reaching prickly cacti, the moody heat, and the ever-present embrace of the mountains. And though I have travelled the world, more than anything, it is these mountains I find that I can never forget. But as a result of their eternal consistency, I tend to forget that other people don’t have the mountains over their shoulder, at their beck and call, the way life in in the Valley makes you think.
As a younger, more innocent student a few years back, I took a study abroad trip to Spain with the University. My favorite city in the world, as a result, is Granada, home of La Alhambra, gypsies, narrow winding streets and copious historical cathedrals. Fantastic as it was to be swept off my feet quite literally by an exuberant gypsy for a round of impromptu flamenco, what expanded my mind most about that outing was the long bus ride home.
Our motley crew of ASU students was joined by a class from New York on the Granada leg of the trip. On the ride home, we’d began to mingle and discuss our new shared experiences. A young blond man next to me sat gazing thoughtfully out the window. I asked if he was okay…if anything was preoccupying him.
“Nothing…I’m just looking at the mountains…”
“Oh,” I said, and glanced out the windows. And then I noticed, a stark expanse of desert and mountains. It suddenly hit me, on the other side of the world, “It looks like home.”
“We don’t have ’em in New York. I’ve never seen so many before.”
And I can’t help but be surrounded by the mountains here, in the desert of Spain, on Tempe Campus, in the banner for this Superstition Review (of the Superstition Mountain range), and I realize how lucky and rare my life has been to be able to call the Valley home.
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