Have You Spotted Them Yet? Watch Out Arizona, These ‘Birds’ are Returning!
In most states you know the seasons are changing by watching the leaves turn colors. Spring buds turn into green, summer leaves. Summer's leaves don their Fall colors changing to orange, yellow, and brown. They fall away, leaving bare Winter branches.
It's the way of things. That is if you don't live in Arizona.
Subtle Changes in Arizona's Seasons
Long-time residents are savvy as they spot the subtle seasonal changes in Arizona.
Winter is less dramatic than in other parts of the country. The heavy snow and blowing winds stay back east or up north. Unless you live in Alpine or Flagstaff, you're probably not dealing with much snow and ice. Winter is lovely here.
Spring means the birds change. Hummingbirds and butterflies begin to make their way into Arizona. As the weather warms, they head north. Some of them stick around, but their return is a sure sign.
Summer brings the monsoonal rain and greener cactus and ocotillo. The pools are cleaned and prepped, ready for the hotter days ahead.
Autumn brings Summer back for another pass. For a few weeks, anyway. If you look carefully up in the higher elevations, you'll find the changing leaves. THOSE changes are hard to spot. The TRUE sign that summer has given way to fall can be found in a different annual change.
The Return of the Snowbirds
This is how you know Winter is Coming. No, the White Walkers aren't making their way here. More accurately, the White-Haired Walkers (and drivers) are on the move.
It starts slowly. Hey, there's a plate from Illinois. And one from Ohio. Oh, Ontario? You came all the way from Canada? Okay. I guess.
Little by little, one by one, the dominant Arizona plates are replaced by shades of Orange, Black, Green, White, and every other color of the rainbow.
It's a time to take things slowly (you'll have no choice, they're going ten-under in the fast lane and you're right behind them!).
A time plan ahead (no grabbing that early 5pm dinner before soccer practice! That's rush hour!).
And a time to learn new words...
The Language Barrier
When you're trying to get around Snowbirds on the road, try to be patient. Have fun making up new words.
Snowbirds, also known as *&^$% and #^&@! depending on which part of the state you're from, can be a real challenge.
Just keep breathing and try not to teach your kids too many off-color phrases. These "new words" are not quite as cute when the kids repeat them in line at the grocery store.
This reminds me: Never grocery shop on the first Wednesday of the month in ANY store. It's Senior Discount Day and it's gonna be mobbed!
Learn New Languages!
This is a time to learn some foreign words, too.
Midwestern is full of quaint little quirks. For example, "pop" is soda, not your dad. "Slow as molasses in January" is a phrase we can't translate into Arizonan. We simply have no equal reference.
Northern dialects may include phrases like, "Ya, you betcha", "Oof duh" and "Oh, fer cute!" Don't ask me what those things mean. Just nod and hope for some kinda context.
Californian is too fast for Arizona listeners to understand. Just bring them something with wheatgrass in it and they'll be okay. And remind them how to get back on I-10. Be sure to point out New Mexico. It's nice there. Really.
(I mean. It's not even cold in California. Why are you here?)