Let’s start at the beginning. As a newly minted resident of Sonoita, I’ve got no rightful claim of being considered a “local.” Hope to earn that distinction some day, but I realize it’s an exclusive club. As for “knowledge,” best I can claim is that, unlike my friends from Nebraska (it’s an old football joke), I know how to spell it.

But I’m always up for learning, and I have learned plenty since my relocation from the big city (otherwise known as Mesa, Arizona) at the end of May. Let me amend that. Been learning about the local experience for the better part of nine years now, since first becoming a landowner down here, waiting for the time to build our (the Mrs. will be relocating shortly) retirement/forever home.

Example: That very first time we tried to camp out on the land – at the tippy-top of our “big hill.” Such was our introduction to The Winds of Sonoita. That EZ-Up canopy (the first of about eight that have been part of our camping adventures) lasted about two minutes before becoming a twisted, mangled wreck of metal and canvas (helped along slightly by my temper). At the risk of confessing to a federal crime, it was all I could to do wedge that thing into the back of the pickup and then into the dumpster behind the post office. (Yep, I might be the guy responsible for getting that lock put on the dumpster.)

Don’t even think about camping when the forecast says “gusty.” Local knowledge. Hard-earned. Like so much of what I’ve learned, by virtue of mistake. A proud and proficient learner am I.

But I’ll save some of those foibles for another post.

There’s also knowledge acquired from experience. From doing, not just from mistakes. And then there’s the knowledge to be gained from the real locals. Those who have mistaked and experienced before me, so I don’t have to repeat them.

Whether it’s my new neighbors (love you), the hardware store (a necessary treasure), or just random locals I interact with on an as-needed basis, there’s no shortage of helpful advice, or ways to solve problems (not always on first try) and get just about any task done. Might not be instantaneous gratification, but comes with the territory. It’s supposed to make you appreciate it all that much more.

I mentioned that the Mrs. has not yet relocated, and that’s for a number of reasons, including the last few weeks of her job and the process of packing up the big city house. For me, it’s meant several back-and-forths on the weekends to help with the process.

Several months ago, we told a neighbor who we had chatted up frequently on our morning walks that we were in the process of planning our move. Otherwise likable fellow. His first reaction: Aren’t you worried about being down there?

This past weekend, when I was back in the city to assist with the packing/purging, I stopped for gas at the corner store, ran into another friendly neighbor, told him of our plans. Reaction: You’re moving closer to the border?

He wished me well, and so I’m moving on, chalking that up to his lack of local knowledge.

Sonoita. It’s not for everyone. And that’s a good thing.