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I went down to the coffee shop near my house tonight, and noticed while walking over that the wind was picking up and the air smelled different. Since the coffee shop was crowded, I found an empty chair outside and enjoyed the rapidly dropping temperature. Wind whipped into the complex’s courtyard bringing electricity with it and sure enough, lightning started soon after.

At this time last year I learned how quickly a torrential downpour can burst out of nowhere, so I grabbed my bag, magazine and drink and headed home, noticing how many of my neighbors had their windows open on the way. Sure enough, by the time I’d made it up two flights of stairs and started opening my own windows, fat drops had started spattering the screens.

Unfortunately, my cat, Antonya, was far less impressed by these exciting developments than I had hoped. As the sound of the pavement getting soaked and voices of people caught in the downpour drifted up, she turned her back on the window and is now sleeping on her favorite chair with a distinctly offended attitude.

But we haven’t been able to open the windows in months, so I’m stubbornly thrilled that there’s air moving through the rooms and not just because of the constant ceiling fans. Things have settled down now, and people are returning to their porches and sidewalks, but there’s still splashes each time a car goes by, and a fresh breeze…

While the break in the heat will probably only be temporary till October, nothing clears the air like a good storm.

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It’s so green here…

If it’s hard to remember the searing heat of the desert within air conditioned Nogales houses or even chilly Phoenix newsrooms, it’s impossible to remember so many miles away in the lush countryside of Pennsylvania. Yet the same story that led me south repeatedly is now bringing me north for a few days.

When I get home there’s a few loose end interviews, then writing and editing, then more editing. At the moment that’s all very far away. I’m realizing how accustomed I’ve gotten to Phoenix, because I can’t stop noticing how different this is – after all, it’s so green here…

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11 little things a girl from Kansas loves about living in Phoenix

- desert plants like cacti and palo verdes
– wearing my “summer clothes” year round
– amazing sunsets
– sounds of movement: traffic, light rail, and helicopters
– downtown is flat but surrounded by mountains
– biking to school
– seeing planes que up for landing at Sky Harbor- the tunnel on the 10
– being about 5 hours from both LA and Nogales
– desert driving gives me the big sky feeling of my Flint Hills
palm trees

From Phoenix (2010)

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