Desert winter

Want to get a bunch of Tucsonans complaining? Turn off the heat. It dipped to 26F (-3C) the night before last, and that was cold.

It wouldn’t have felt cold, what with the dry air, if I were visiting some more northern (or much much more southern) place–because there I would have loaded up with winter coat and hat and gloves. But in Tucson, we don’t quite think that way.

What we think is: Okay, if I put on a sweatshirt and even (gasp!) socks, that should be good enough, shouldn’t it? … but I’d better put some lighter layers under that, for when it heats up later. Because of course it will–and so we’re used to thinking of cold as a transient thing here, in the city at least, and not the sort of thing something one actually has to be sensible about and respect, the way one does, say, heat. (Sunhat, sunscreen, tons and tons of water–now that’s important weather protection!)

When I’m north and east, I treat the cold with a whole lot more respect.

But here, in the desert, it did heat up within a few hours. By midafternoon the air was somewhere around 60F (15C), sitting outside in the sun, enjoying the weather. The thing about dry desert air is, you can get 40F degree spread between day and night. By mid-afternoon we were all sitting cheerfully outside, enjoying the weather.

But really, we enjoyed the complaining before then, too, and the being able to huddle up in coffee shops with warm beverages, and all the rest. We don’t get to do that all that often around here, after all.

Now, if only there’d been snow, this Tucsonan, at least, would have been very happy indeed.

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