This weekend, it snowed in Tucson. I woke up to a text saying, “I see snow!” and I assumed it meant snow on the mountains. We have blackout blinds in our bedroom, so I couldn’t see outside till I stumbled into the living room and saw that, no, it was actively snowing. It won’t stick, I thought, and got dressed, still believing it would have stopped before I was ready to go outside.
But then I was outside with Paul, in a winter coat, and snow was landing on my shoulders and settling in a scrim of dust. It was wet, big flakes, the size of a thumbnail. I caught them on my tongue and laughed, while Paul huddled under some trees to pee; he looks like a sled dog, but he despises weather of almost every kind.
The snow started sticking, and I got nervous about my garden, which is full of tiny seedlings. A lot of them are winter greens like chard and radishes, which seemed fine, especially since it wasn’t actually freezing, it was just snowing; all day the temperature hovered around 36 degrees. I did worry about the poppies, but by the time I began waffling about covering my plants, they were already blanketed in white. So I left them. It all melted by 4pm, and then I covered the lot, and found sheets of ice on top of the plastic in the morning. Most things seem to have survived.
It made me think about how often I don’t let myself fully appreciate something wonderful when it happens; everyone I talked to said this was the most snow they’d ever seen in Tucson, and it really was remarkable to see all the cacti covered, all the palm trees. We went out to breakfast, and I ate a fancy waffle, and everyone was red-cheeked and buzzing with strangeness, but all the while I was thinking, Please don’t die, little poppies, don’t die. Perhaps this a normal human condition.
Anyway, it’s about 70 degrees now, supposed to be up to 77 later, though it looks like rain. Yesterday we went out to lunch and it smelled like regular Tucson spring, the nice period just before the mesquite trees all bloom and the allergies descend. Flowers perfuming the air like candy, but not aggressively, not yet. Today I took my indoor seedlings out for a few minutes of hardening; soon they will be taking their chances in the garden with the rest. The basil has bubbled out its true basil leaves, and the melons are starting to climb.
This weekend is the Tucson Festival of Books, and I’ll be on three panels, so if you’re around and amenable, check me out:
- Saturday 3/2, 2:30pm in Koffler room 216: A Conversation about Vladimir Nabokov
- Sunday 3/3, 1:00pm in Student Union Sabino: Famous Romances: Books inspired by historical relationships
- Sunday 3/3, 4pm in Student Union Kachina: Edge of Your Seat: Thrillers that keep you…on the edge of your seat
It should be fun, and the weather should be beautiful. Now that the snow has passed, even I can look back on it and appreciate how strange, how lovely, how delicately it lay on the leaves in my garden.