We are a city of dust and dirt, clean dirt that covers our yards, grainy dust that sticks to our laundry and forms film on our cars, dust devils that spin across our fields and tip over our trash cans, rivers bled dry, dirt under our fingernails, grit in our teeth.
We are a city of mountains and cactus, telephone poles threading through open fields, hiking trails and national parks, shopping centers invading desert habitat, orange sunsets and thick starry nights. We are a city of adobe and wildflowers, snakes and lizards, swimming pools and taco trucks.
We are a city that’s not like a city, sprawling out instead of up, lacking in skyscrapers and subways, filled with neighborhoods and ice cream trucks and laundry lines. We are a city of destruction and growth, new homes beside aging plants, flowers from rock, blacktop on sand. We are a city of hope and passion, honking for peace, longing for change, arguing politics in coffee shops, buying organic milk in grocery stores. We dance when it rains.
We are a city of transients: tourists ogling blankets and turquoise, snowbirds reveling in winter sunshine, students perplexed by dryness and aching for green. We sleep on benches and ask strangers for coins. We work low paying jobs, speaking Spanish with our friends, sending money to our families, and remembering daily the people we left in Mexico. We are patriotic and uniformed, proud in our jackets and devoted to our country. And we are a city of friends: hippies and artists and dreamers and leaders who depend on one another and can’t fathom living anywhere else. We are neighbors. We are community.
We are a city of paradox, filled with traffic and vegetation, tenderness and crime, poverty and wealth. We pulse with life and tension, clashing ideas merging, bubbling, creating dissent and dialogue. We are unified in our disunity, in our love for this place, in our need for sun to dry us out and warm us up. This place of thorns entangles the strong and the stubborn—those who crave dust, those who seek purpose.
This place is Tucson: home of my heart.