Flying into Phoenix is a peculiar experience. I will not herein write extensively, but I felt motivated all the same. Not since I was a small child have I been to the Southwest, and those trips were most certainly by the luxurious Astrovan of yesteryear. The view from the plane includes rich vistas of desert, scrub, and craggy hills and mountains. They appear alarming, striking, historic; they are imbued with that rich austerity of distinctly old things. Many long stretches are even and planar, then, the upshoot of a hill or mesa highlights this by the parallel demarcations of geologic ages, mostly revealed by wind but in certain hydrologically blessed locales, by flowing water. Seeing it the first time, even from so high or especially from so high, I cannot help but feel it, sense that unmistakable intensity, that mystique.
Following a long stretch of planar, scrub landscape, sits Phoenix. It's lack of character is plain from any angle, I imagine. The houses are uniform, even the neighborhoods have their spatial characteristics, as if no one wanted to try something different. And I suppose no one did. Swimming pools dot many of the backyards with pristine cerulean eyes staring out of the wetted lawns of foreign Kentucky Blue. The pools remnd me of a passage about flying into LAX, seeing the innumerable private pools, and finding none disturbed by swimmers. Waterways pierce or wind with the roads, many of which have been straitened or are entirely artificial. The long courses of unnervingly aligned streams recall the agricultural fields of Minnesota with their creeks forced into peculiar, geometric arrangements.
It gives me the shivers, despite the outside temperature rising above ninety. Of course, inside this gray wind tunnel airport, it is cozily in the sixties or low seventies. I look forward to Flagstaff. The images of mountains and Ponderosa dancing just as suredly as sugar plums.
"Blue Mountains constantly walking..." What about blue mountains dancing?