A house with Chritmas lights on a snowy Christmas Eve in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

I lived in small towns and cities growing up so the only urban neighborhoods I saw were the ones I saw on TV, which tended to be a sea of concrete and asphalt. So I was surprised when we started looking at houses in Portland years ago and found established neighborhoods full of unique old houses and old trees. This is our neighborhood of Irvington, covered in a light dusting of snow on Christmas Eve. I’m going to miss how walkable this neighborhood is, I’m going to miss these old houses, and I’m certainly going to miss these old trees. People talk about the heat in Arizona but the thing that struck me when I visited on a cooler day was both the dry air and the lack of shade due to the lack of trees.

It’s not just that it will be hot in the summer, but that you can’t escape the sun. I have an old bottle of sunscreen, I can’t even tell you how old it is, because I only use it when I’m up above the tree line or when I travel. Normally I hike in long sleeves, long pants, and a brimmed hat, and since I’m usually hiking in the forest I don’t have to worry about the sun. That’s about to change, but lest I sound too negative, I am genuinely excited about exploring the desert and photographing the completely different landscapes, plants, and animals.

My hunch and my hope is that I will love both places, my old home and my new home, and that I’ll appreciate each for what they are.

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