Arid Paradise


palm trees ink sketchRattlesnakes and cacti, this is my wilderness. I often grumble and fret over this arid oven called home.

“Brown is the new green,” say the banners hanging across shopping malls.

“Take ten-minute showers and save water,” say the commercials.

“Remember the drought,” says my mother when I’d water the plants.

“How can anyone forget the drought?” I say, “it’s eighty-degrees outside, and we’re in November.”

Today, I climbed the hill over-looking my small city. Sweat gathered on my forehead. Sometimes I dream of other places where yellow and red leaves litter the sidewalks. A place with white winters where snowflakes fall on the palm of your hand. Instead, autumn is blistering hot and, occasionally, I catch a glimpse of snow on the peaks of faraway mountains.

At the hilltop, I dug into my shorts pulling out a cellphone. Sunset was a few minutes away. Below, at the summit, was a grocery store, café, and gas station. Houses, apartments, and condos stretched to the horizon and, in the distance, a highway and mountains.

A breeze struck my shoulders; goosebumps crawled across my legs. I chuckled because only here was sixty-five-degree weather met with shivers, elsewhere it’d receive a warm welcome when compared to blizzards, floods, and storms.

Thunder roared behind me. The threatening clouds were thick, black, and grey. “Prepare for the thunderstorm,” said the weatherman.

I tried to recall my last thunderstorm but was unable to think of a day or even a year; soon my attention focused on the sunset. Although I’ve seen hundreds of them, I still savored every pink hue, each purple streak, and the golden ring emanating from the sun. I grinned ear-to-ear because as much as I hated this arid home of mine. In my heart, no sunset would be complete without palm trees.