Greater Phoenix. The Valley of the Sun. Where saguaros grow as roadside trees, where centers of harmonic convergence are never far.
Where from the dust rose farms. And golf courses.
Where the water comes from snow.
A person who thinks about water in the slightest has to think about it here. When previous inhabitants give up trying live here after 1,000 years of working their own canal system to make the land arable, the place clearly has challenges.
When you stand high up on a mountain and look at the sprawl of subdivision after subdivision, most of them consisting of building construction that rather looks like the big boxes of any other U.S. urban sprawl, except with stucco siding and tiled roofs, one has to wonder just how this group of settlers is impacting their environment, and from whom they are taking the resources to make it happen.
My son is fond of pointing out that the energy impact of cooling a home in a hot climate is less than that of heating one in a cold climate. I grant that. But so many people. So much sprawl. So much traffic, with little to no public transportation. So many homes volume but no ventilation, big panes of plate glass exposed to the elements with little to do but gain solar heat. Not much evidence of shade as part of the structure, of thinking about making the patterns of the sun either work to your advantage, or at least do a dance with those patterns to minimize negative impact.
Unique to Phoenix? Heck no. But this is no temperate climate. It has the hottest climate of any metropolitan area in the United States.
A while back, there was chatter about the impact of all the grass in Phoenix. All these northern folk had come in and planted their new lawns with what they knew: grass. Which needed a LOT of water in the Valley of the Sun. Phoenix has changed its water usage policies since then. There is a 100 year plan, and folks apparently take care of their landscape with different habits (and regulations) than a generation ago.
But one still thinks about water.
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Perfume. Available locally is a perfume called "Cactus Flower." Based on the scent of the night blooming cereus--which is protected, and therefore cannot be harvested for purposes of enfleurage etc.--it is described in its promotional literature as a "soft floral scent." I got some harsh raspy chemicals in there. Since I haven't had the experience of smelling the one night out of the year event that is the blooming of the Queen of the Night, I can't really speak to how closely the overall effect of the perfume approximates that of the flower.
I declined getting some, even as a souvenir.
For further information about Desert Queen perfume, see the website here.