Wet Dirt

If you aren’t from Arizona, you can probably stop reading. I just came inside from “hosing off” my live plants, silk plants, patio furniture and a few windowsills – although I’ll probably regret that later when I’m back out in the heat with window cleaner getting rid of the water spots.
I remember moving here from Minnesota and being happy not to have to shovel in the winter or fumigate for insects in July. After living through my first Arizona monsoon season, I was exhausted. There was a lot to contend with – missing patio umbrellas that were later found in the neighbor’s swimming pool, bent beyond repair, patio furniture in our own pool, tree branches and children’s toys scattered about the yard, and red clay soil inches thick between rain storms.
This is my 29th summer in Arizona, and today I spent an hour and a half washing dirt and dust from every surface in my front and back yards. The thing about “hosing” is that you have to be careful to really soak each leaf, branch and surface to dripping stage. Otherwise you will have traded dust for mud. I use a spray bottle on my silk trees on the patio and it takes a long time before they drip. I miss-judged last weekend and went out later to find mud-stained fake palm leaves. Ugly.
I know it’s too hot to sit outdoors anyway – 108 today, 114 by Wed. so why bother? you ask. Good question. Two reasons I guess: 1) I hate looking out at dust and spider-covered furniture and plants and 2) when it does rain a bit, the smell of wet dust attacks my sinus cavities and my sense of aesthetics.
Rain in Phoenix never smells like “back home” anyway. The crisp scent of wet grass and oak trees. In Arizona it smells like Creote in the desert, palm trees in Tempe, and just plain old wet dirt in my granite-covered neighborhood. Everything is clean for a few hours at least. Clouds are heavy this morning so by 6:00 PM it may be dust-covered again. But for those few hours I’ll enjoy gazing out at green leaves instead of brown.

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