Returning to the Valley of the @@##!!

  A week ago today I returned to the Valley of the Sun – or valley of hell as many of us so lovingly call it. That’s when my body began to rebel. I first noticed my feet, as the desert dryness leeched out all the moisture and left them cracked and painful, especially walking on tile floors.
       Then the plumpness of my northern Arizona cheeks fell back to their desert thinness, and I began to slather on more and more moisturizer. Every day my skin, from head to toe, cries out for water and lotions, and gels and oils — anything to quench its thirst. I’m drinking gallons of fluids again – trying to keep it 90% pure water. I bought another twenty–four bottle case of H2O mid-week.
My sinuses are bloody, and when I step outside my lungs scream for cooler, wetter, dust- free oxygen. My nose begs for cool, damp grass and shade trees and the smell of pine. Aside from my body shriveling up, I realized that I’ve been outdoors a total of an hour all week, and that one hour was spent running between the air conditioned house to the air conditioned car to the air conditioned grocery store and back.
 Everyone assures me that it will cool off in a couple of weeks, and I hope they’re right, but I’m not betting on it. Until then, I will cough my way through each day, hole up in my darkened, cool house and keep pouring water down my throat and lotion onto my feet. And next year I will extend my summer up north to three weeks instead of two — because in October, friends can actually be truthful when they say it will cool down by the end of the month.

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