Monday, June 25, 2007

A Welcome Addition to the Family

We'd been thinking that the time was coming to get a kitten. Our cat and dog both died in December. The bunnies are fun, but the don't bond and play with us the way cats and dogs do.

When I got back from Sedona, we decided to start looking for the right kitten. One night I dreamed all night long of playing with a calico kitten. I'd wake up and return into the same dream. The next morning I visited the Humane Society. There was one calico kitten, a long-haired little calico girl. She was sweet and sleepy and friendly, so we took her home. Somehow, Gary and I both thought of the name Maya, after playing with her for a few hours. Maya she is! As I type this, she is snoozing on my desk, paws on the keyboard.

She's been part of our family for over two weeks now. She's learned how to play without using her claws. It took awhile, but she's finally learned that bad things happen to her when she pounces on our fluttering eyelids in the middle of the night! And she's discovered that her bunny brothers run away when she tries to wrestle with them.

Our family rhythm is developing. Maya sleeps all night without waking us, at last. When she awakes, she spends half an hour being petted, purring loudly and tumbling in happy somersaults between Gary and me. This seems to be her bonding time. We eat breakfast on the back patio. Bunnies and kitten come out and lie together on the cement at our feet. Then they chase each other around the garden paths for awhile. When it gets hot they all traipse in the house, and we close the door to keep the heat out. In the evenings, we gather in the living room - humans on the sofa, four-leggeds on the rug. Maya goes wild for an hour, attacking everything in sight and leaping into the air for fun. If I take a bath, she hops onto the edge of the tub, then steps gingerly onto my chest. She stands there with dry feet and drinks from the bathwater, then hops back out. What an adventurous lass she is! Then we all go to bed. Maya starts her night's sleep by draping herself like a noodle-scarf across my throat or Gary's, purring.

It's hard to resist the baby-love she exudes. Her sweetness is healing our grief and bringing a new style of fun into our home.

Part 7: The Last of Sedona

The comfortable hotel in Sedona was no small part of the trip. The Red Rocks Lodge is perched on top of a mesa overlooking the town of Sedona. A circle of gargantuan mesas are eye-level from the hotel's mesa-top. West Sedona appears to be miles and miles below. My room was nicer than I'd expected, with a little gas fireplace in the corner and two giant beds. Sorry you missed it, Birdie! The beds were comfy, and the landscaped pool and jacuzzi area was just a few steps away. Young jackrabbits hopped around the lawn, reminding me of how fortunate I am to have pettable rabbit friends in my home.

My sister and I hung out on our joint back porch and sewed/ designed / glued gifts for our brother's birthday ceremony. After the ceremony, he came back to our room with us and admired all of his gifts. Here is a photo of a 50 year old Peter. I still remember holding him on my lap as my baby brother! Looks like he grew up and got all handsome.

The drive back was much like the drive out. I do love the peace and quiet of driving across country with only myself for company. Nonetheless, when I got home to my own husband, rabbits and exquisitely comfortable bed, it was a relief.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Part 6 - The Greatness of Wide Open Spaces

In Sedona, it's easy to feel expanded and relaxed. The scale of life is unique there. With gargantuan rock formations hovering above all, reflecting a thousand centuries of life, my existence is small. In that smallness, I feel like a part of those ancient centuries myself. My trail of footprints is one more element in the millenia since this land was once under water. One day it may be under water again. A diver from the future may find my bootprint on some underwater hillside, and wonder.

The upper photos were taken as the three of us aging siblings hiked into the wilderness beyond Sedona. The rock wall in the photo is next to where we ushered Peter into his second half of this life. The three of us sat on the sandy ground behind a giant boulder, near Oak Creek. We ceremonially told him what we appreciated about him in his first half of his life. Then we asked him what he wanted to take with him into his second half-century, and what he wanted to leave behind. Lastly, we gave him our wishes and our family's wishes for him in the coming years. He received gifts from family and friends that we brought along. Then we all sat against the boulder, eating and listening to the trees rustle amid birdsong.

Part 5 - Sedona AZ

Sedona Arizona at last! Sedona is a small town nestled between mesas and buttes taller than the imagination can comprehend. These dwarf even my beloved Colorado red rocks. It's hot and dry, but Oak Creek flows through the edge of town. In the Oak Creek Canyon, the air is cooler and moister. Breathing is an enjoyable activity there.

You can see my sister photographing the primary formation that overshadows the town of Sedona. The bottom photo shows me with my sister and one of our brothers, outside Sedona. If you look closely, you can see a small village beneath that rock formation.

Can you find the chameleon on the branch, in the top photo?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Part 4 - Badlands Visitor Center

I stopped at this Visitors Center in the New Mexican Badlands. The light is so stark there, that it makes for interesting contrasts. The air smelled like sage, cedar and dust for two days as I crossed the volcanic desert at six times the speed of the old wagon trains. Fast as I was driving, I felt rested by the lack of urban noise, color, shapes and lights. Nature can be peaceful in the desert, even through a car window.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Part 3 - Evidence of Enduring Cuteness

Yes, it looks as if my grandson is still cute! I got in a wonderful day of visiting him. I gave him a plastic elephant, which is pictured here drinking from the water bottle "because his nose is thirsty!". In the top photo, Ethan and his mom and I are all wearing matching candy necklaces, courtesy of Grandma.

Part 2 - Driving Through Navajo Country

I drove for hours and hours and hours and hours on a long, straight road with very little other traffic. This part of the world is built of prickly hills and red mesas and camouflaged wildlife. It was an exciting diversion when I passed a truck that seems to have hit another truck, and somehow boxes were spilled all over the highway. Those metallic sheets in the photo are the fallen-over sides of two long trucks. It was hard to figure out exactly what happened, but it sure was fun to have something else to look at and think about!

As you can see, Monk was clearly bored by it all, looking the other direction as we passed.

My radio was tuned to a Navajo station around this area. I love to listen to that language, so unique, so otherworldly. Between drumming songs and ancient country western songs, the announcer will say things such as: Ah nak'ka watta hotah BUDDY'S AUTO SHOP eenahyay. I just made up the Navajo words, there, but that's about how it sounds. I always hope that, if I listen long enough, I will start to know what they're saying. And the longer I drive through that kind of country, the more possible the hope seems.

Across the Western Moonscape

Photos of the bizarre New Mexican Landscape!
Better photos are coming soon, when I get a little more time.

My traveling companion ended up entertaining a strep bug, right before our trip began. That left just my stuffed monkey and me to make the drive on our own.

Monk spent most of the trip on the dashboard, but occasionally stuffed himself into a space in the steering wheel for a change of scenery. I photographed him on a few occasions, just to prove we were there.

We traversed the moonscape that is western New Mexico and eastern Arizona. These photos were snapped one-handed while I drove, so pardon the poor quality. The first one is a random mesa in New Mexico. The second one - yes, it's sideways alright - is Monk sitting on volcanic rock in the badlands. New Mexicans call that area El Malpais, which translates literally as The Badland. Ages ago, a volcano spewed lava for hundreds of miles around. El Malpais is strewn with cascades of porous lava rock, lava tubes, frozen lava waterfalls tumbling down hillsides. The bottom photo is of one of those lava fields. (If Dick Jones is reading this: I stopped and got you a lava rock! I want to mail it to you.)

These types of long drives are heaven for me. The peace and quiet are balm for my harried life. There's enough air to breathe, enough silence to hear my soul, enough silence to eventually inspire me to start singing. A speeding car is the perfect venue for my vocal stylings, and nobody else has to hear it or form an opinion!

I stopped at several Indian reservations and browsed around their stores, at the artwork. It always twists my heartstrings when I see their stores selling Chinese replicas of their own art, in addition to the authentic stuff. I'm sure there's enough logic and profit for them to be persuaded to do that.... but its pretty awful in my opinion. I was hoping to get some blue corn frybread, but none of the stands were open.

I had a vivid, powerful dream of a tall Kachina who said his name was Thunderbird. He operated on me, to heal me. I'd love to find out if there is such a Kachina. In a brazen moment, I told one of the Laguna Indian men in a store that I was trying to find out about a Kachina named Thunderbird. He said the Zia tribe has a Thunderbird kachina, but I haven't been able to confirm it. Within my dream at least, he was a reality.