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Wednesday February 14th 2007, 1:05 pm
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

To a desert connection,

I am in the land of your father’s house. I am in the land of a scorched urbania. The Arizona desert is one of the hottest environments in the United States, besides Death Valley. This land is amazingly dry, with mounds of dirt sporadically placed along the outskirts of urban centers. No building is taller than four stories because it would cost more to air condition a sky rise than any business could pull in revenue. On average the temperature stays at a constant 105 degrees, but during the devil’s hours (3 pm until 6 pm) the temperatures raise to 112 plus degrees. The only saving grace which the devil offers the desert dwellers is that the heat is a dry heat, unlike other areas in the United States that offer humid damp heat, which asphyxiates as it burns the skin; At times Sacramento was such a city. The humid temperature of 105 degrees plus the smog from the valley’s inward slope made us not dare go outside on certain summer days. There use to be news report warnings as to how unhealthy the air would be on those abominable days. “Do not go outside? was cleverly disguised as “Spare the Air Days? in their television reporting. However, we always had the Sacramento River to play in, just in case we decided to tempt the devilish ways of the Sacramento heat. The river was a place for fantasy, for puckish play and childish manners. We were quite jovial growing up in Sacramento. The children I associated with were your usual suspects of terror and joy. On the weekends we’d go fishing with the gear we either had borrowed from our parents or stole from the local fishing shop. I was never any good at catching the fish but I always enjoyed the process of baiting a hook or fixing a pole. We felt free to be anything when we were out fishing; we could have been China men fishing from the shores of Hong Kong or pirates fishing for the days feast. We sometimes pretended to be on completely different worlds, experiencing what it was like to build society up from the ground again, going back to our Earthly primordial knowledge of how to survive on our own. If only there were women with us, we could have gone further into such fantastical scenarios; however, we were just four boys free from the pressures of anything outside of our imaginations, free from the dangers of heartbreak, repression, pain and suffering. We were the Lord of the Flies, the Kings of Unknown Lands. But the constant known was the river, the beauty of Fresh flowing streams. Our dreams were gentle in the summer currents of the Sacramento River. And though the dense summer swelter in AZ brings these nostalgic memories flooding back to me, I soon become disappointed that I can only wade in those childhood waters through my memories alone. When I close my eyes and imagine the currents flowing around my shins, I can almost feel the coolness of its waves. However, when I release my eyelids and allow them to open, the blazing white light reflecting the sun’s glare off dry desert plains blinds me.

-Puck

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