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Tue, Oct. 22

Witucki: Bracing for the big chill — at least for a former Yuman

As of this writing, I’ve only lived in Prescott for two weeks. As Yoda might say, “Much to learn I still have.”

But I’ve lived in Arizona for almost eight years, most of that time spent in Yuma. Our state’s desert cities are great in many ways, but life in Prescott underscores just how diverse Arizona is. When you’re sitting in the 100-degree summer heat of Yuma, it’s hard to imagine that a snowflake might appear anywhere else in our state.

Even this month, as I sat around enjoying the 80-degree September days in Prescott, it was hard for me to imagine that it was about to get colder. Much, much colder, especially for someone who has lived in Yuma for the past few years. Much colder — especially for someone who is used to watching snow on television, not outside their window. You mean I actually have to buy winter clothes? I haven’t worn a really heavy jacket for a really long time. Galoshes? Gloves? We Yumans only wear gloves when we have to use our steering wheels after they’ve been sitting in the sun for five hours.

Now I know that the winters here are much milder than in most of the nation. I know that the snowfall is (usually) not too much of a problem. But everything is tricky the first time you do it. Very cold winters are a horror story that I’ve only heard about from others. Now, I’m about to experience (for me) a very cold winter.

Actually, I’ve been getting a sneak preview of the chilly life. We haven’t been able to get the hot water turned on in our home yet. I’ve spent the last several mornings taking very cold showers. It hasn’t exactly been comfortable, but it’s possible. It’s something you can do if you put your mind to it.

Come to think of it, that’s sort of what I had to do when I first moved to Yuma. I suppose someone who has lived in cold temperatures for most of their life would find the Arizona desert a bit intimidating. Hot weather can be as difficult to live with as cold weather. But practice makes perfect. The heat is something that you can learn to live with if you plan ahead.

So maybe it’s not the cold itself that’s causing me so much concern. Maybe it’s just change. For Prescott, changes in the weather are more common than in other parts of the state. It’s something I will need to adapt to, and if I can handle the occasional cold shower, I should be able to handle changes in the weather.

Change can be kind of taxing, but thankfully, in this case at least, it’s something I can plan for.

Steve Witucki is the Daily Courier Community Editor

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