By Nash Wills, Staff Writer
To leave the South and move to the Southwest as I recently did is to be immediately struck by the extensiveness of the landscape, the withering air, the palpable silence, and the tranquility of the desert vibe. It is also to be overwhelmed by the sheer modernity of everything (as if cities, neighborhoods, and shopping centers just recently sprouted from the ground), the bracing intermingling of Mexican and American cultures, and the peculiarity of a place that has seemingly only just begun to develop its own unique way of life. In the Sonoran, time seems to stand still, and as the seasons change the weather is eternal, unchanging.
Life in the South is historical. The landscape is diverse, always cloaked in an antebellum beauty, the air is humid, and the changing of the seasons can not only be felt, but also heard. Conservatism trumps all—in values, manners, and traditions. There is an acute sense of tension that only one who has lived there for many years can feel, as the outside world changes and, like a flood, attempts to transform a region whose roots have grown too deep for any viable movement. In a country that revs, and where individualism is the only way to truly get ahead, the South seems to move a little bit slower, remaining a separate but integral part of the whole.
The Southwest is in a constant state of growth and change. The South stands resolute, tenaciously holding onto a way of life that may one day be lost. In my travels, if there is anything that I have learned it is this: that life in Georgia, life in Arizona, Argentina, and Australia is still just life. The only healthy way to live is by taking pleasure in the everyday things like a dry desert morning, a beer at the pub, or simple conversation with the type of people that only Thunderbird can draw from every corner of the world. For myself, the South is home, and moving to the Southwest is the fulfillment of a truly American ideal: “go West young man.”
Feature photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com