May 25, 2019-
I have, very recently, met someone who has hit me like a ton of bricks, and much in the way Penny did. I have no idea how this friendship will go, but it is bound to be one of substance.
For the past eight years or so, I have, to outward seeming, gone at times from pillar to post with my meanderings and efforts at working day jobs. This is who I am, though, and my purpose remains to be a friend to as many who cross my path, as do not mean either me, or the world, harm.
I used to be a loner. Penny changed all that- and even when it was the two of us, quietly reading or thinking, in our own spaces, I was no longer just one living for myself. Since she passed, I have been aware that, if I ever reverted to loner-hood, she’d come back and haunt me. Thus, there is the sense of belonging to a community that’s bigger; to groups that have an aim.
I have ties, camaraderie, with so many communities, it’s hard to pin down to one place. That remains a good part of me, and so:
Prescott- Here, I have become grounded, made an effort at being part of a day-to-day community and have established many friendships-with people across the political and social spectra, who, in their own words, might not be able to stand being in the same room with each other. While that’s sad, it is the human condition. I’ve been doing this sort of networking since high school, though, so it is second nature.
Phoenix- It’s no secret that this city, this sometimes choking environment, nearly buried me. That is as much present in the circumstances of my time lived here, being a caregiver, especially for a loved one, is both labour of love and slow asphyxiation. She often said she couldn’t wait to “be out of my way”, though to my mind, it could have gone on forever-until leaving was what was best for her.
I love the desert mountains, which the city has had the foresight to keep out of the harm’s way of uber-development (Prescott, take note: You have no idea how close you are to losing the very places which make you special.) I also love the people who stayed close to me, when the feckless around us were seeking to quarantine my wife and me.
Arizona- You took me in, when I was still very much a mess. Flagstaff, Superior, Casa Grande, Cochise County, the White Mountain region, Kingman-and the eternally blessed Dineh and Hopi Nations all have given me friendships that will draw this one back, time and again. Tucson, for reasons both long-standing, and yet to pan out, is a special draw.
The West- California, in the words of Debbie Boone, will “keep calling me home.” The beaches, the expanse of Mojave and Imperial Deserts, the Coast Ranges, LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, the Bay Area-and the Sierra Nevada underscore my ongoing friendships, which will remain. Nevada, Colorado, Utah- your treating me like family will only be an ongoing comfort and draw this one back time and again.
The same hold true, for those in my heart in the Northwest, Alaska, the Midwest, Northeast, South, Canada, Korea and western Europe. I cannot see myself staying apart from any of you, my friends and family, in perpetuity. Nor, for that matter, do I wish to preclude time with those friends in places yet unvisited: The rest of Europe, the Pacific Rim, South, West and Central Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas.
Time will tell whether my solo wanderlust, or this newfound friendship, sets the parameters of the future. It is a comforting place to be.