Before moving to Albuquerque after college, I grew up near a swamp and instead wanted to be in a desert atmosphere.
I had seen beautiful images of the west in documentaries my parents watched on PBS when I was a young child in the 1990s.
These impressions stayed in the background of my mind like a looming shadow. A part of me—deep within the recesses of my memories—desperately wanted to live the dream of moving to the western United States. Compared to the swamps, the southwest in particular felt like a huge improvement. As far as wildlife is concerned, I knew I’d be dealing with rattlesnakes of seven different species opposed to Florida’s four, but at least the fear of gators would be gone. And the humidity in the swamp can be mind-numbingly uncomfortable as well, especially if you don’t have an air conditioner to run abundantly during summer heat waves. Some warned me of the heat in the desert of the southwest, but that’s precisely why I chose Albuquerque opposed to a city like Phoenix. Average summer temperatures in Albuquerque aren’t much higher than my hometown in Florida, and that’s because of Albuquerque’s high elevation at 5,312 feet. But I still underestimated the sheer force of the desert when I ate a bunch of potent cannabis edibles with a few friends and wandered into the Chihuahuan Desert in the middle of the night. We got lost for an hour and injured ourselves on cactus spines. The weed in Albuquerque is just as strong as anything I’ve purchased in Florida or California, especially from the growing facilities north of the Sandia Mountains where the weather is even colder and drier.