Arizona mornings

Waking up before the crack of dawn is a routine for me. Partially because of my work schedule of 6am-6pm (approx), and partially because I’ve become a morning person of sorts as I grow older. Toddlers also help in that regard.

I look outside at my outdoor thermometer. Today it is 70°F. The weather forecast today is 97°F for a high, 68°F for a low. It frankly doesn’t get better than that in September, especially after a long and hot summer, which seem to get longer and hotter with each passing year.

It is 5:00 am. The sun won’t rise over the eastern horizon of mountains and suburban homes for at least an hour. The moon is setting, no longer visible over the western mountains. City street lamps provide pockets of light in the ocean of darkness. The air is cool and refreshing, and finally more cool than the air indoors.

I climb into my car and start the engine. A short rush of warm stagnant air blows onto my arms, before quickly releasing simulated frost. It doesn’t take long for the air to cool when the sun isn’t out, not like the summers. I fiddle with the knobs to set the air to just the right temperature before setting my car in gear and driving off to work.

The sun won’t rise until a little after 6, and today I will already be working. Earlier in the week, at this time I am walking my dog. This time of year is when I walk early in the morning before sunrise if possible, or in the evening after sunset to minimize heat.

I like morning walks best. While most major cities are alive at all hours, Phoenix and it’s suburbs are still asleep until about sunrise. Maybe it’s remnants of the Old West, or its the laid back attitude people here have. Either way, early mornings are calm and quiet, and the perfect time to think or relax, as the case may be. Even though school has been in session for a month now, children still aren’t used to waking up early (even those that do, rarely stray as far as the front door these days).

This time of year is the best time weather wise. The simultaneous threat of heat stroke, 2nd degree sunburns, and dusty thunderstorms finally abates, leaving behind what most Arizonans (and especially what us Phoenicians) like best: dry, but forgiving heat. It’s also a precursor of the next couple months of gradual cooling to our eventual “winter” (for my desert born blood, even our “winters” are too cold for me).

For now, I will enjoy things as they are