The Melancholy of Moving Back to the Desert

A grown man shouldn’t need to return
to the land of his childhood

tummy-showing and barefoot.

You should live where mountains and water
compliment your dual ascendant, the one

reaching for high mountain lakes; the other
the depth of ocean.

My patio fountain in the Sonoran Desert,
like a mockingbird, its trickling water incessant—

a waterboard.

The best change comes slowly
like summer, when Sun forces burnt skin

into action.

Even flies know when to leave.

I’ll wait to see if my wife packs for two.

Phoenix Is a Survivor

This City in the Sonoran Desert Is an Old Hand at Grappling with Its Thirst for Water and Electricity

The fact that people question Phoenix’s existence has been good for the city. That was the headline lesson from Tuesday night’s Zócalo/ASU College of Public Service & Community Solutions event, …

The Lost Savannas of Arizona

Until about 100 Years Ago, Grasses Up to 2 Feet High Blanketed Swaths of the Sonoran Desert

In the Santa Cruz Flats in southern Arizona, the beige of sandy plains, dunes, and clay-filled basins alternate with green swaths of irrigated cotton fields. Save for a rare jackrabbit, …

My Uncle Dale’s California Dream

In the High Desert, He Lived Like a Cowboy, Hauled Sand and Milk, and Kept Our Family Together

I had to go to a family funeral up in Apple Valley, I explained to friends and colleagues, as I canceled a day’s worth of appointments recently. They offered …

My Grandparents’ Strange Desert Home

Welcome to Sun City, A Non-Reality-Based Community

The freeway east out of Los Angeles leads into the suburbs that speckle the Inland Empire, passes through green hills, and eventually swings by the monolithic Morongo Casino. This marks …