I went to visit my sister for a bit, and the unthinkable happened.
My sister lives in the arid Arizona desert near Tuscon. Deep-red rocks layer the mountains surrounding the region. Cacti and cholla line the dried-up wash behind her house.
And this past weekend, a healthy five inches of snow settled upon her neighborhood.
It was so unreal. Even though I saw snow fall during my Christmas cabin trip, I’m still not used to the sight. I felt like Alya’s sliding glass door opened onto an alien planet, a planet where a saguaro cactus could be hooded with an ice-cold powder. I spent a long time just staring out the window, watching fat flakes pile up into frozen mounds.
The funny thing is I wasn’t even supposed to stay at Alya’s this weekend. I extended my stay at the spur of the moment (with my sister’s eager consent). So it felt like the snow was destined for me. I was meant to encounter it. (Pretentious, I know.)
My sister and I stayed indoors for the most part. We bundled up with blankets and clasped mugs of hot coffee in our frigid hands. We let Alya’s dog, Ushi, outside to frolic through the meager snow drifts. She pushed through them with her paws as if they were the most diverting things she had ever seen. Her white fur, normally so bright and eye-arresting, looked dirty next to the pure white of the snow.
Despite the novelty of the experience, stirrings of uneasiness shook my heart. Climate change is real, people.
The snow falling in the desert might have had nothing to do with the effects humanity has wreaked on our planet’s climate.
But it sure reminded me of the fragility of our biosphere.