Arizona first called to me in 1994. I had just completed a liberal arts degree at the community college in my hometown of Amherst and was exploring options for furthering my academic credentials. Coming out of high school I was thrust from a small, private school into class sizes up to 400 students at a major international university. I matriculated into the business program for lack of having any real idea of what I was going to pursue as a career path. I floundered for 2 semesters from an academic standpoint, although my social life had opened up for the first time as a young adult. Hence, an ensuing transfer to the community college while I figured out what do with my life.
My interests had honed in to the subjects of ecology and the natural world. Some personal experiences backpacking and camping and fishing as a member of a college sponsored club, among early childhood experiences exploring the fields and woods, had activated a passion for all things outdoors. I had my eye on a private liberal arts college nestled in the mountainous terrain near Flagstaff. However, I didn’t make it out to The Grand Canyon State. Instead, I opted for a state university college based in Syracuse NY where I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies. It was far more practical, and less costly, than Prescott College. However, I never left that longing to explore Arizona behind. It was innate, albeit indexed for a later time.
In the fall of 1999, while employed in residence life at a college in my hometown, I embarked upon an epic cross-country road trip with several friends. We hit the interstates caravan style, 4 vehicles as I recall. My friend Dane & I got a head start arriving at Hopi Nation in about 35 hours drive time. I marveled at the mesas and soaked up the warm arid air with breathtaking vistas available in every direction. The remainder of the caravan caught up with us and we spent the majority of our time in the desert at an obscure ranch just east of Yuma. It was there I was first introduced to folks who pay close attention to the activity in the skies overheard, particularly at night. There was a minor earthquake a few hundred miles to the west as we slept beneath the stars and I felt the cot I was laying upon move as though I was afloat on a raft. Bizarre experience.
I would return to The Copper State in August 2005 after punching my ticket and taking a train ride from Buffalo to Tucson, which spanned over 3 days. My target was Patagonia AZ for a 3 week stay at an intentional community called Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. I didn’t have budget for a sleeper car, and so I managed to catch some shuteye whilst seated upright. I can’t recall how I occupied all that time. Smart Phones hadn’t hit the market yet, and I may have had a book or two with me. I do recall striking up conversations with fellow passengers who boarded at cities from Chicago to Little Rock to El Paso, and on to our final destination. On the return trip we picked up some refugees from New Orleans where Hurricane Katrina had obliterated the bayou. I bought dinner for one of the refugees who went on to share quite a harrowing tale of floating on a mattress and being shot at by those who would engage in lawless behavior amidst a crisis. He was grateful to be alive enjoying a hot meal.
There’s much much more to both stories of adventure out west on those 2 trips. However, I want to pivot to the present moment where I find myself laid up with a hernia. I’ve been dealing with it for several months, and over the last 2 weeks it has escalated. I have a surgery scheduled for next month, although I am continuing to explore and experiment with alternative treatment. I’ve been practicing guided meditations with Dr. Joe Dispenza multiple times daily, leveraging herbal remedies and will be adding in homeopathy to the regimen. I am not one who likes to spend any length of time on the couch. I've conceded that it is the most comfortable position to support my body in its recovery. And overcoming the conditioning of the body and a familiar routine is equivalent to self-realization and mastery.
Earlier this week dining with a group of friends at Big Big Table- a pay as you can café- I received a call from Phoenix AZ. The call log indicated that it was from an establishment named Beaver Bar & Grill. On the drive home I returned the call and a woman answered the phone. I explained that I was returning their call, and she responded firmly that she did not make any such call. I wished her a beautiful day before ending the call. I chuckled to myself, “Arizona is calling…”