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Letter to the Editor 

Thanking Tucson

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Tucson saved me.

Some people beckon Jesus into their hearts. For others a baptismal ceremony really rocks their world. Still others mark significant life changes with bar/bat mitvahs and other religious rituals.

Been there. Done that. Tithed but didn't get the T-shirt.

As Earth Day 2016 approaches it seems fitting to sing the praises and write psalms of gratitude to the landscape that soothes our souls and challenges our spirits on a daily basis. If there is one thing that has saved me, it is these mountains and their inhabitants. This isn't a treatise on the importance of conservation or a discourse on renewable resources. This is just a full-throated love declaration for our desert.

After almost three decades of Social Work and seeing firsthand what the human race is capable of doing to themselves and to one another, I still get surprised on a regular basis.

When it comes to humans, the more I see, the less I understand. How is it that people continue to cling to divide -and –conquer belief systems? If you turn down the volume on cable news shows, you can observe the rabid followers of two political book ends appearing eerily the same.

And when I think of the absolute havoc and heartbreak that organized religion has unleashed on this earth, well, absolute despair sets in and threatens to camp out indefinitely. I mean, really. If you look closely at religious arguments and timelines they read like a differential diagnostic graph for various pathologies.

But then, the red velvet sun sets and offers a reprieve. I genuflect before a saguaro and ask for its staying power. The roiling voices in the monsoon winds reach into my chest and dispense hope with a single boom of thunder. The brutal, loving survival lessons from grandmother owl, sister snake and cousin coyote teach me about true wisdom, transformation and the eventual need to lighten up a little bit.

A moment of beauty provides just a moment of garnering just enough hope that maybe tomorrow will be just a little bit different. Maybe tomorrow, mothers and fathers won't abandon their children emotionally and physically. Maybe tomorrow, leaders and followers of religions and political parties will stop starting conversations with the absurd narcissists' declaration of belief statements and change to "Let me help".

In the backyard under the settling glow of hope, you can hear the assembling call of the quail gathering their brood under the sprawling branches of desert broom. The end of another day of hard work is at hand- rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat. Hallelujah and Amen.

—Pam Squires

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