discovering place

mapping the senses : walk 2 - touch

I am welcomed to the outdoors by the wave of heat that envelops me and reminded of the temperature all throughout my walk. It is only 95 degrees, a temperature much easier to exist in than the 114 of a few weeks ago. I can feel moisture in the air, not a lot but just enough for my skin to notice it's presence. The steel handle of the gate in front of my house is hot, my water bottle which I just filled with ice is drastically cooler than the air. As I walk down the alley and across the street I can start to feel subtle perspiration on the back of my neck at my hairline. The sun is beating down and soon my dark hair will have absorbed enough sunlight to turn the top of my head into a small furnace. The desert allows my sense of touch to be heightened, every shift is drastic. I can feel the shadows glance across my skin when I walk through them, the temperature in the shade is noticeably different than the temperature outside the shade. Fluctuations in humidity are much more noticeable, I swear I could feel the water molecules hovering in the air when I walked passed a wet spot on the ground.

I am a sunlight junkie. There is no feeling like that of the sun beating down on my skin. During moments like this where I am allowed to be alone with the sunlight and fully embrace the experience of it beating down onto my body I imagine how miraculous it must feel to be a plant during photosynthesis. I think about the silver coated films that are used to make photographs, imagine the molecules of my skin to react in a similar manner.

When I turn onto Euclid, a main street with fresh asphalt, I can feel the air change. It turns thicker, hotter, a little more mucky. Vehicles go by blowing hot air onto me and the cactuses. I grip my water bottle, the aluminum has now turned hot, and gulp down the alarmingly cool water. I come upon a wrought iron fence that is half in shade and half in sunlight and I grip one of the bars on each side, the difference is shocking. It is hard to exist in this landscape and not be enamored by the sun. Here we are hyper aware of it at all times and it has the power to dictate us unlike it can in other parts of the world.