I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Monday, June 18, 2007

On going native

Flying back, I was asked whether Phoenix was my home, and it’s the first time I copped to it without hedging. As I am coming up on the anniversary of my move west, it’s probably time to give up my newcomer persona. I guess I was sort of waiting to “go native.” I thought maybe I’d be slower, more relaxed, like hotter foods (I HAVE become more of a salsa snob). I thought I’d have taken up hiking and xeriscape.

I still might. Summer’s the wrong time to embark on anything in the desert.

I could change my screen name. Arizona does not have a state dinosaur. It has a state fossil, but it’s just not the same.

We live in Laveen, which is technically a “village” of Phoenix. We’re the southernmost and westernmost edge of that sprawl, before you get to properly incorporated towns like Goodyear, Tolleson, or Avondale. We have one pitiful, unkempt border to the west that we share with The Rez, one industrial warehouse border to the north; and to the east we slowly give over to the spas and salons of South Mountain Park. So, depending on how you approach, you might see what we saw in the place or wonder what crack we were smoking. Having logged a year here, I still feel both extremes.

It’s pretty country, when the sun sets over the Estrellas. A little farmy at times, due to the thriving dairy industry, but for all that, our air is much clearer than in the city. There’s a Walmart, needless to say, and a supermarket. But you still see some old-timers filling up the feedbags at the old corner market before riding Old Paint back to their crazy huge mountainside homes.

But it’s not what Laveen is, but what it is going to be that drew us. In a few years, when the services have caught up with the population, and the churches don’t operate out of the schools, and the promised community center and college have been built, we will have that ownership that comes of having been in on the ground floor of something.

If we last that long.

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