A young Harris’s hawk perches atop a house in our neighborhood in April. Last year I noticed all the yardbirds scatter in an instant when an adult landed on our back fence. Hopefully enough green space will remain that the hawks can stay as more and more of the area gets turned into subdivisions, as our neighborhood must have a couple of decades ago (we were settling into our lives in Oregon back then).
After the movers packed up our belongings, I took a quick picture with my phone before leaving the rental house for the last time. Or almost the last time, I was back yesterday to let the carpet cleaner in. As excited as I am about our new house, I was a little sad pulling away from the rental house as it was a great home for us during our first year in Arizona. That’s my Crosstrek out front, its utility proved itself multiple times both on the move a year ago and in this last move, even if I replace it with something a little better suited to my current commute I will always love this little Subaru.
At the back of the large backyard was this old bird feeder, it provided endless entertainment for both me and the cats during our year there. I saw 30 bird species over the year, many of which fed at or below the feeder. The most surprising visitors were the boisterous rosy-faced lovebirds, they aren’t native but a population has established itself in Scottsdale.
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.