What makes me proud to live in Arizona? Oh, that is a broad question with many factors to consider, many minutiae to brood over. Several wits would try to propose idealistic abstractions of the native inhabitants and their culture or chimerical musings of indolent reveries. However curiously riveting it all is, should we not consider more primitively? I do not mean to say we ought to endeavor to make idle pleasantry out of the ordinary and banal prosaic — quite the opposite — what I do propose is that we should recognize the artistry that the basic, primitive roots of Arizona offer. If one were to just pause, transcend into an unadulterated retrograde, then one could take note of the ever-permeating sense of la dolce vita that suffuses itself into all of Arizona’s existence. There is much to regard from the always-metamorphosing faces of the ever-stretching eggshell fields to the mysterious nervousness that settles onto the shoulders of the archaic mountains during the allotted time between dusk and dawn, when the world is suspended mid-motion.
After all, is there not a caprice in the very nature of Arizona? There is a wink in the nodding heads of the migrated Californian poppies, a sort of hello to passersby. There is a dance in the swaying whorls of the ocotillo which, at first notion, appear to one’s eyes the most intimidating with its imposing height and obstinate twigs yet are the most worldly and fine with the miniature golden, flowering figures it bears as fruit. There is a distinct yet piquant character Arizona possesses, a sort of charm like no other — it is the symmetry and handsomeness of her understated countenance. Oh, Arizona, where could one find such a girl like Arizona? Her demeanor is of true innocence. She is virginal, that is to say, she is barely citified… she is effete in the most endearing ways. There is simply no word to place on the unique spirit of Arizona and all her charisma. She is nights underneath soul-consuming skies sewn with all of the universe’s stars, days sweating with glasses of river water, and mornings waltzed wayward right into the palms of the heavens.
So, I must confess that this is a vague conception to grasp, the reasons which my love for Arizona are attributed to. If we are conversing candidly, I shall answer with this: It is the essence, the flora and fauna of this plain, freckled, blue-eyed girl, Arizona, which has caught my eye and kept me so enraptured and caused me, as one would say of a beloved child, to swell with pride. It is the flowers that are strewn throughout her long, long hay-hued hairs, the dusty toes caked with mud and small, smooth, pocked pebbles, and the dual personality to seem at first glance lifeless but to be, really, frothing with life. It is the genuine candor of Arizona that has made me proud to live in Arizona.
• Windy Vo, age 15, Higley High School, Gilbert