You know why I’m writing. You know my story well. You know my husband, daughter and I came to you almost three years ago, me, for the third time and my husband, a homecoming. Although I come from a family who has been in the Sonoran Desert for too many generations to count, I was born a Phoenician. There, I said it.
I met my husband, a Tucson Southsider, back east when I was living in DC, he in NYC. We connected as Arizonans, it didn’t matter he is a Wildcat, me a Sun Devil. We both understood dirt and dry riverbeds, the explosive smell of wetness, Spanglish and a great tamale at Christmas, well. We both longed to feel warmed to our bones.
Our instant connection played out not in love letters, but love emails. Emails of home, of fantasy, of family and tradition all set along the banks of the Santa Cruz. There were wild edibles, dreams of a harvest, and food that we knew and that knew us too. The first time he took the train to visit me in DC I made him a big pot of posole. He told his mom my salsa tasted like his Nana’s. And so it was.
I moved to New York City and we had a daughter. We worried about her born with a view of the Statue of Liberty and not the mountains. We named her after the Cactus Wren – a bird who makes her nest amidst the thorns of the Cholla. A scrappy bird with a loud song.
We knew it was time to bring her home when on a visit she pointed to a mountain and asked, “Mommy, what’s that?” Phoenix or Tucson, it didn’t matter to us. She would know the crunchy sound of decomposed granite underfoot. But I am forever thankful Tucson spread it’s arms first. We sent our things across the country.
Three years later we live in the Tucson Mountains. We cross the Santa Cruz everyday. The river, now a daily reminder of our family, our love, the cycles of life reflected in Monsoon water, Tucson’s water. The Santa Cruz is an image of a far off land, of the life we’ve made together and of our love for this place.
Sara dashed off this love letter to Tucson at the recent All Analog Day event held by Exo, Tap & Bottle, and Pima County Public Library. Sara, is an artist, a writer, and in her spare time a yoga instructor. You can find more out about Sara’s art here. We have also heard rumor that an anthology of her writing is in the making.