Living a month in a home-away-from-home has its pros and cons, its ups and downs, its blessings and curses. There’s plenty of time to acclimate to your temporary bed and learn your way around the kitchen, but way not enough to get past feeling like “tourist” is tattooed on your forehead whenever you step outside. Our four weeks here in our little Tucson condo is a wrap. After a lunch date with a friend in Phoenix tomorrow, we’ll hit the road to Flagstaff, our first overnight stop on our trek back to the Northwest.
I’ll miss the mellow luminous mornings here, and the constantly shifting shadows on the broad bare faces of the Catalinas to the north/northeast of town. But I’m looking forward to mornings at home, too, where there’s still a prickle of frost in the air and (to say the least) no one’s alarmed about how long it’s been since it’s rained. The dry heat here has seeped into our bones and soothed our soggy Northwest spirits for awhile. . . but the truth is I’m looking forward to seeing green when I look out the window.
We’ve loved the extravaganza of spring flowers here— as short lived as it is. There’s no getting used to the brazen bougainvillea, the lush and prolific pink oleander, and the dainty red bird-like blossoms that perch atop upright bundles of ocotillo. But I’m anxious to check-out the hellebores and early tulips I’ve heard are gracing our yard on Edgewood, and to see how tall the sweet peas are that I planted— literally by the light of the moon— the night before we left home.
Restaurant food here— even casual diner fare— offers a complex mix of southwestern and tex-mex flavors. Most dishes unapologetically come with a bite. We expect sliced jalapeños on grilled cheese sandwiches and raspberry-habanero jam with our toast at our favorite breakfast spot. Shopping for food is less of a challenge this year. It seems that more grocery stores are offering organic choices, and some products are even locally sourced. But boy do I miss New Seasons!
There are more good Northwest wines to be had in Tucson now, too. Whole Foods is particularly proud of their few bottles of Eyrie pinot— lined up like expensive mercenary soldiers on the top shelf of “miscellaneous reds.” (Excuse me? Does that sticker really say 39.95?) On the other hand, I’m bringing home a couple bottles of a smooth-and-spicy Sonoran red blend that’s produced a couple hours SE of here in Cochise County. I’m rather pleased with myself (she said smugly) that I set aside my (sometimes tedious) Pacific Northwest chauvinism regarding wine long enough to try it.
We’ll miss watching Charlie romp with his new friends at the local dog park just before sunset, and our early morning walks through the huge, unspoiled Nature Preserve to the west. We listen to the coyotes who live there while we’re lying in bed at night, but we’ve yet to spot one of the wily four-legged natives when walking thru their habitat during daylight hours. Something tells me they’ve spotted us, though. On the other paw, Charlie is especially anxious to get home and reclaim “his” playfield across the street and have some good tear-ass times—in the green grass!— with his home-based four-legged friends.
Speaking of exercise, we’ve loved having the Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club just a short jaunt away, on foot. Gale and Aaron made admirable use of the machines and pool, and I enjoyed my adventures with various styles of yoga classes and instructors. But after each session here, I’ve mentally clicked my imaginary red gym shoes together all the way back to the condo, chanting “there’s no place like home” and the Marshall Center in Vancouver. If I’ve harbored any doubts in the past, I’m now convinced that Katy— my long-time yoga teacher there— is the best, by far. I can’t wait to be back in her class, a week from Tuesday.
Our leaving, of course, will be bittersweet. We’ve enjoyed rich and varied adventures with friends and family. (Including the “opportunity” to— temporarily— set aside our inherent loyalties to teams named “Ducks” and “Bulldogs” during March Madness, and cheer for the local UofA bunch known as the “Wildcats.”) But, at the same time, the anticipation of re-settling at home and embracing the promises and challenges of what the next few months hold for us will lighten our hearts and keep the wind at our backs.
Thanks for reading my random reflections these past weeks. The dogonmylap and I appreciate it.