National Geographic : 1953 Sep
345 Drawn by Robert W. Northrop and Victor J. Kelley Land of Climate, Cotton, Copper, and Cattle-Southeastern Arizona Here Indians prowl the five-and-tens, dudes pick cactus thorns out of their breeches, and the sun shines all winter. National forests, ghost towns, and adobe villages blend into mountain and desert scenery. during the war I left Wyoming in a blizzard and next day found Tucson basking under a warm sun. I found I could swim in winter instead of freezing. Like many another sol dier, I said, 'This is the climate for me!' "At first I found the desert as harsh and repellent as bare granite. Saguaro and oco tillo looked as incredible as plants on the moon. How could I know that in spring they would put out delicate blossoms! In winter the desert was as stern and masculine as a mail-clad warrior. Blooming, it turned into a frilly little girl with a lei around her neck. "And so, without realizing it, I was ex posed to something like an insidious drug. I grew to like the place. Today the feel of the desert, the look of the mountains are closer to me than anything in the world. The desert is my peace and solace. An ocean of sand and solitude, it is as wild and unpre dictable as the sea. Sometimes I get the feeling of trespassing. If I leave the place for three months, the desert rushes back like a tropic jungle to reclaim its own. Scorpions and black widow spiders take over. I think, basically, that man will always be an alien here. Oddly, that's part of the fascination." Dudes Enjoy Blizzards Back Home Tucson's climate has been described as "ten months of summer and two months of no winter." Intense sunshine is the city's good fortune in winter, its misfortune in summer. The sun shines nearly every day of the year. To enjoy a Tucson winter to the hilt, I recommend sitting in the patio of a guest ranch and talking about the winter weather back home. Guests at the Westward Look ranch, where I stayed, bragged about our home towns' blizzards and secretly, I believe, wished our stay-at-home friends some of them. We forgot the world's troubles; few of us read a paper or heard a newscast. Getting a February suntan seemed more important.