Thursday, September 20, 2007

Desert Tortoise Day

A friend of mine Sarah lives in St George, UT. She writes a column for the Spectrum newspaper there. As you may know, St George, and Phoenix have very similar weather. When I read this column of hers I could relate in more ways than one. I laughed, I cried.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

"September has arrived in the desert, and with it comes the advent of a brand new holiday. If you'll remember, I'm the official U.S. New Holiday Namer and have been since I gave myself the job in an edition of the Mother Load a few years ago. My new holiday will occur every year on September 9th. I'm calling it Desert Tortoise Day. It's similar to Groundhog Day, only without all the fur and media hype and groundhog groupies.Like Groundhog Day, Desert Tortoise day is all about predicting the weather. If the Desert Tortoise sees his shadow, we'll have two more months of summer. If the Desert Tortoise doesn't see his shadow, we'll have two more months of summer. If the Desert Tortoise gets tired of living on the reserve, hops the tiny perimeter fence, and heads for cooler weather, we'll have two more months of summer.It may not be as exciting as the Groundhog Day prediction, but it's certainly more accurate.I was actually quite shocked to learn that I've made it all the way to September without writing an, "I hate St. George summers!" column. I usually have one cranked out by the middle of June. One year, I wrote three separate columns dealing with summer in the desert. When I realized I hadn't used the pages of the Spectrum to lament the summer heat so far this season, I figured I'd either gotten used to it or I'd settled into some newfound sense of maturity and restraint.It was when I heard a radio ad proclaiming these the "Sunsational Days of Summer," that I realized neither was the case. Screaming words they could never print in a paper as nice as The Spectrum, I cursed the radio voice to the hottest depths of a Sunsational hell and cried like a little sissy girl. It seems no amount of conditioning will ever help me get used to temperatures topping 116 degrees Fahrenheit. I've also decided maturity and restraint are completely overrated, so here I am, writing an "I hate St. George summers!" column yet again.September is always a hard month for me. The first 15 Septembers of my life are so deeply imbedded in my subconscious, I still expect the weather to be the way I remembered it as a child growing up in Oklahoma, Germany, and north Texas. The calendar page turns to month number nine, and suddenly a primitive part of my brain is screaming, "JACKET WEATHER! YIPEEEEE!" then recoiling in shock at the absence thereof. I'm definitely not walking outside into the heat and proclaiming it "Sunsational."I mean, really...Sunsational? Is that how you would describe this weather? Sunsational? How about Scorchtastic? Maybe Blisterific would fit. Swelterlicious might work. Then there's my personal favorite: Scalderamabamaholycowitsreallyhot!I guess I should count my blessings. There are hotter places on this earth. My friend, Becca, and I skirted Death Valley on our way to Yosemite this summer. St. George isn't quite as hot as Death Valley, but almost. We're like Gravely Wounded Valley. It Doesn't Look Good Valley. It Could Go Either Way Valley. I'm Not Quite Dead Yet Valley.Of course, in two months, when we've finally seen our last triple digit day and the weather suddenly changes just in time for Halloween, I'll be happy I live in Southern Utah. Crazy hot summers mean wonderfully mild winters. We endure the heat to get the payoff at the end of the year. It's all about the balance, right? Right?Whatever. I'd live naked in an igloo all winter long for a little bit of jacket weather right now."

I just have to add that I couldn't agree more with her thoughts, it just doesn't seem right to not have crisp cool nights, leaves starting to change color, apples, pumpkins, and all that goes along with fall in September.

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