Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Winter Comes to Tucson—and Hypertravel Hostel at the Old Boarding House

What a difference a month makes. The high temperature here on September 30 was 100f/38c—sssizzzle. The high on October 30 was 66f/19c—bbbrrr. That's a normal winter's day. Now it's November, with the nights crispy and the days still warm. This is time for the change of seasons, in the low Arizona desert and Hypertravel Hostel at the Old Boarding House. This house took its first guests more than one hundred years ago, and has served many different purposes in between. This is a still-life painting of the life in between. This is the changing of seasons. Winter is nice.

This is the sweet spot, nature in transition, revolving around a central set of warm days and cool nights, naked perfection, no blasting furnaces or icy frozen buns. A month ago I opened the windows first thing in the morning to let some cool air in for a few hours, then close it up tight at nine or ten in the a.m. to seal in whatever freshness I can with whatever jiffy-wrap is at or near my disposal, mostly windows and doors. Now I open them later in the day to let in some warm air, to warm things up before the long cool nights.

To bend and stretch with the seasons is one of life's finer pleasures, really, bundling up when it's cold or stripping down to skivvies when it's hot hot hot. If you can't do or don't do that, then you're missing something nice. That's the nice thing about living in moderate-temperature lands of four seasons—lots of variety. I think it could be argued that that is what set us cooler European-descended cultures on a path of unrelenting development, so as to somehow conquer nature. And that's what we've done—sorta'... oops...

Thus the search for the coolest room in my house continued throughout the summer. I figure the ideal method of climate control is the simple opening and closing of windows, but the architecture has its own dynamics, also. The main problem was that once I thought I'd found the coolest room, soon it wasn't so cool anymore. Oops! That's my body heat, I guess. So now I look for the warmest room and hope my body heat will make up the difference for any lack of warmth. Warmth is necessary; refrigeration is not. That's the difference.

Then there's the age-old practice of migration, frowned on these days as archaic and anachronistic. I disagree. Nothing is more normal than migration, but few peoples do it any more. Even the famous nomadic Bedouins of Arabia and the Sahara have been largely bought off and settled down. It's a shame. But that's back there and then. This is here and now, and we're looking for a few good people to share the winter with us down here in southern Arizona. It's not expensive—and it's nice. C U soon...

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