Thomasson: walking every mile of the Town of Paradise Valley

We do live in paradise. In early April I decided that walking every one of our 144 miles of our town would be a great way to enjoy and learn more about our town

Anna Thomasson

On most days, I pick my route, leash up one of my three German Shepherds — Echo, Layla or Elsa — and head out to explore. Thirty years of consulting with my corporate clients, taught me that being out in the field, on the ground, was the best way to really learn what was going on.

The lessons from our walks have been numerous:

The visual beauty of our town is only a small part of the story. The fragrances are enchanting. Whether it is the familiar scent of freshly cut grass from my younger days in Wisconsin, or the seductive sweetness of jasmine or orange blossoms, it is like a fragrance buffet in the morning.

As the days warm, the oleander scent is emerging and occasionally the pungent, warm creosote will hit my nose. Clearly, it has been far too long since I’ve driven with the windows down.

And the sounds!

The music of the morning birds is really delightful. No doubt my birder friends could tell me the difference between the calls of the dove, quail, hawk and jaybird, but to me, they are just a symphony. It’s surprising how much sound such a little creature can make.

Even the air feels good.

Marching up and down our little ravines, hills and washes, one can feel the temperature and humidity waxing and waning. Occasionally a little breeze will rush past a house or through a wash reminding me how much of the natural world around us we often miss. I can only imagine how much my dogs enjoy the variety of scents brought to them on that fresh gust of air.

I’ve also learned our town has so many different types of homes. There really is a place for everyone. We have a whole neighborhood that transports me to Santa Barbara and another one that must have come from Dallas. And, yet another that feels like Old Tucson, complete with wagon wheels and decorative, rusty farm equipment.

And our desert washes deserve their own coffee table picture book. Many of them are beautiful in their natural state, full of mature Palo Verde trees and thousands of floating yellow leaves. Depending on the time of year, the tiny yellow leaves cover the trees, float down like snow or blanket the ground like cherry blossoms on the east coast.

Some of our washes are re-landscaped and groomed while others have been transformed to hidden, tiny meditation gardens. They are such a beautiful way to create the open spaces between homes and neighborhoods.

And the people!

Our morning walks are full of cars with parents bustling their children off to school, intense business-types already on their first conference call, all speeds of cyclists, and “the faithful” walking their dogs. Our town is also full of landscapers, handymen and housekeepers heading to work. My morning walks remind me that a warm smile and friendly hello go a long way with our neighbors and those visiting our town for the day.

Even after 25 years in the town, I still feel so lucky to live in this beautiful, peaceful place full of genuinely good people. With each mile, my commitment to learning about our town, sharing it with others and working to create a sense of community grows stronger.

About 40 miles trekked so far, just over 100 to go. You are welcome to join us on a walk or follow us on Facebook at: Tour the Town.

Editor’s note: Ms. Thomasson is a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley who is seeking a seat on town council this election year

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