Tucson. Enough to dislike here in the hot Southwest. Gangs, drug conflicts, human trafficking, apartment hostilities, and more. I mentioned to Anna how we live in an "R" rated city. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see or hear the evidence. In fact, it would be quite easy to drive through Tucson and call it the armpit of the Southwest. But it would be a lie, mainly. I have some perspective because I've been in arguably the largest, poorest neighborhood on the planet. But even in that poor neighborhood there is beauty. It was only there when I wanted it.
President Uchtdorf teaches this principle in this month's Ensign:
"Have you ever noticed that people can usually find whatever they are looking for? Look hard enough, and you can discover both good and bad in almost anyone and anything."
Have you ever read "The Hiding Place?" Talk about discovering good in anything, the author finds the good in head lice. Anna has a gift of doing things like that. (She nor I have head lice) And it's a gift I'm trying to work on. Luckily, I live in Tucson, which is the perfect laboratory for my experiment in finding good in head lice. Take yesterday...
I went for a morning jog through a residential neighborhood. The air was cool, the sun shining, and the doves singing their winter tunes. Bikers were out exercising and people were out walking to their farmer's markets. The saguaros were standing tall and it just smelled like desert goodness. A great day. But it got better when fifty feet in front of me two bobcats crossed the road. They just walked right through people's yards, oblivious to human activity. Gorgeous.
After the run, we went to the Tucson Book Festival and heard Frank Deford talk about sports writing. A writer talking about sports. Here's a man whose occupation is my avocation. What a treat! Tucson is good in this way, collecting the right people to cater to the interests of this polymathematic populace. The Gem and Mineral Show is another example of Tucsons' knack at culture building. So even though we don't have much city landscaping to speak of, we have our books and rocks. And that's why life is good in Tucson. We get our feet dusty in our daily work. How can you not love that intimacy with mother earth? Call it "lice in the hair" logic, but it makes life enjoyable.
I respect the contrasts in Tucson. We have droughts. We have floods. We have the nicest people on the planet. We have the meanest. We have illegals. We have legals. We have rich and poor. We have old and young. We have pot holes and smooth roads. We have a "Stone Avenue," a street that lives up to it's name for it's lucrative trade. Just ask my brother-in-law Dan, who got a flat tire on his bike on that road one day. It's a bit sketchy. My favorite contrast of all is found on a sign near our home where we do none of our shopping.
But the daily life in Tucson is wonderful, and growing on me. So if you call it an armpit, please note it's application of deodarant. And if you hang out long enough to smell it, you'll discover you like it too. We may not have the best family foods here, but if you are looking at the good in this, you'll see that here in Tucson, family is first. Goodnight.