Masterpiece: Arizona

February 12, 2010
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Out of the fifty candidates, my birth state is the masterpiece of the millennium. Being the only judge of this mental competition, Arizona is clearly not the stereotypical barren wasteland filled with animal skulls, dust, cacti, and empty rundown taverns depicted by old Western movies. Like a judge explaining to the audience his or her criticism of a performance, I would point out that Arizona is an abstract portrait that calls for viewers to look beyond what is presented. An individual does not need to look at it in a certain light, tilt his or her head, hold it at arm length, or expend any energy to view and marvel at Arizona’s beauty. Critics need to gaze at Arizona’s landscape, diversity, and character, since many would argue and question the validity of the decision to crown Arizona.

Although people would say there are not many sites to see in Arizona, their standards of beauty are too high, and they clearly overlook major features. Seasonal and weather differences are a common oversight that adds to Arizona’s beauty. Up north during the winter, snow and frigid temperatures become a pleasant surprise in the often supposedly scorching desert state. Once it has accumulated into vanilla mounds, it is molded into numerous copies of Frosty the Snowman by youngsters while others slide, ski, and slip on the slick slope. Down south, rain is more plentiful and nourishes the desert plants. Sun soakers and snow birds, individuals searching for warmer temperatures, will enjoy residing in the major cities. Throughout the year, parts of northern and southern Arizona have cool temperatures fit for migrating tourists and travelling families. These tourists and families will be astonished to discover there are live green forests, tranquil lakes, and a spectrum of colors offered by nature in these parts of Arizona. Trees metamorphize into autumn colors and spring back to life as the year begins anew. If scenery is called for, some would forget that Arizona is the keeper of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is a greater honor to be the only one in the United States. Looking extraterrestrial and a scene from a sci-fi movie, the Grand Canyon is a jumble of mountains and crevices. A ground view provides a dazzling array of copper brown, burgundy, carrot orange, and tinges of violet. An aerial view gives the impression that the Grand Canyon is Earth’s exposed dry and cracked skin, which requires much needed lotion. Clearly, Arizona’s beauty is concentrated in different regions and forms.

Arizona has amazing diversity just about everywhere you look. Walk through a mall or shopping center in Phoenix and do the same in Tucson. Not only will there be a difference in terms of the building design and style, but a difference in the types of people and how they live. A variety of languages and cultures are intertwined on the streets and in schools. Being exposed to different people promotes nonjudgmental thoughts and actions. For the most part, these differences live harmoniously in Arizona. Friendliness and being open-mindedness can be witnessed any time of the day, like kindergarteners on the first day of school where you introduce yourself to others. The first words out of a person’s mouth are not regarding the recipient’s race or religion but a cheerful greeting. It is a warm feeling to see such friendliness in Arizona, similar but not exactly like drinking soothing steaming chocolate during a winter day. Everyone is able to enjoy exotic and delectable foods and learn about foreign languages and cultures freely. There can be Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and Middle Eastern restaurants that exist in a city without trouble. There is respect for others in terms of religion and ethnicity, which in itself is beauty. Formal festivals and fancy celebrations of all sorts are welcomed with open arms in major cities. Passing by, people do not view these as distractions or as a nuisance and are actually interested. Some even stop and enjoy the show. The color, style, and assortment of these festivals and celebrations, due to the diversity, illuminate and augment Arizona’s attractiveness. Imagine Native American rituals, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year, and even New Year itself. Arizona’s beauty is within its own diversity.

In addition to its landscape and diversity, Arizona’s beauty can be best examined if it is looked at as a person. Arizona has two crown jewels to present; saguaro cactus blossom and Phoenix. With Phoenix as its heart, it is no wonder why it is the fifth largest city in the U.S. Early morning hikers will enjoy the best view of the city, peering upon a lit city with a recognizable Downtown Phoenix and the mountains in the distance. Looking not too far off, bite-sized cars zoom to and fro in an orderly fashion, like red blood cells in a body. Turn around and glimpse the fireball rise from its hiding place and shine upon the sleeping city and cotton masses in the sky. Heading down the hiking trail, a long shadow crosses the path with arms protruding from both sides, looking like a monster from the movie Hercules. Being the second crown jewel, the saguaro cactus is unique to the United States since Arizona is its only habitat. Upon approaching a towering saguaro cactus with multiple spiny arms, it looks menacing, like some deformed alien. However, on each arm is a rare cream-colored treasure that few have seen before. It blooms secretly under the cover of darkness from April to May. Despite its thorny guardian, the flower is delicate to the touch. Something as evil looking, prickly, and definitely not hug worthy as a cactus producing a form of beauty is wonderous. Arizona has worked hard to produce all of this.

After taking a look at its landscape, diversity, and character, it is clear that Arizona deserves the title of the masterpiece of the millennium. No other comes close to this wondrous place. My birth state has all to offer to please even the toughest tourist. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

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