20 June, 2009

Pacific Winds, Pacific Monsoon

~The Monsoon Flow ~

Yesterday, the monsoon clouds lay low after a spectacular sunrise...most of which I missed dealing with the whole process of rising to the morning. Mom's dogs were not happy about another day without their Pack Leader. Their inability to relax and rest most of the night reflected that.

Mom is not happy. The docs will not allow her to eat until they find the blockage or whatever it is that is causing her illness. Test upon test upon test with no definitive answers have left her frustrated, fearful.

Nothing can be done. We simply must wait.
It rained in Tucson. The clouds piled up into a pewter mass, pushing against the Santa Rita mountains. A slow, soft and steady rain began to fall. And that made Mom angry. She could not sneak outside and have her smoke.
Yep, the world is against her... AND....The sullen sunset sky reflects her mood:

The evening before yesterday's rain, clouds rolled in and created the most magnificent sunset.

The range of brilliant raging brush strokes to the subtle delicate pastels never ceases to amaze me.

I forget, when I am not here, just how magnificent these skies can be.

15 June, 2009

Arizona Highways

~Green Valley Summer~

Last Wednesday night I received a call from my sister Martha. Mom had been taken to the hospital in Tucson after collapsing in a faint while having dinner with friends. The devil in the details not necessary, yet an historic background will help.

Mom has had trouble with her gut off and on for years. Chronic problems with stomach, intestines and liver have plagued her late adult life. She is now almost 82. She lost Dad Anthony, her husband, the love of her life in 2005. The last four years have not been easy for her.

The phone call from my sister, though a shock, was not unexpected. One of we three siblings needed to go to Green Valley / Tucson with all haste. Martha and her husband Jim own and run a successful fly fishing shop and guide service in Evergreen. This is their busy season. My brother John just began a major cabinet and interior job which could not be put aside. I, on the other hand, am unemployed. I drew the short straw by choice and by chance.

Last Friday, the 12th, I flew out of Denver, heading southwest through the growing afternoon clouds and foothills turbulence, over the mountains and high desert and down into the gusty Sonoran winds dancing in the canyons and pecan orchards and city of Tucson.

This is not about Mom's illness. Its about the life of this Valley infused in the lives of one family...our family.

Mom and Dad moved to Green Valley in 1985/86. Dad had retired in 1979. They sold the old homestead in Wheat Ridge, Colorado some three or four years later and moved to Guatemala. Central American politics being what they are... The folks decided to move back to the states. They picked Green Valley, bought a three bedroom patio home and settled into retirement.

Mom's love of vibrant colors that compliment the climate and culture are clearly evident in how she has decorated with palette and plant. She and Dad worked slowly and with intent to turn the little home into a refuge and welcoming destination for friend and family alike.

Green Valley was founded as a designated retirement community in the early 1960's. It sits off to the west of Interstate 19 about a half hour south of Tucson in the Santa Cruz River Valley. It has grown into one of the Sonoran Desert's premiere places to retire.

There are spectacular sunsets and at least one great restaurant:


AND...Sonoran desert weather mitigated by 3,000+ foot altitude and two distinct monsoon seasons make it very desirable almost all year round.

There are golf courses..heh.... Ask my brother about that, as I am not a golfer. I like the hikes and the skies and the birds. Literally thousands of dove make Green Valley their home year round, White Wing, Mourning, Eurasian and Aztec.

A goodly variety of desert trees, both deciduous and coniferous, native and transplants make the Northern Sonoran NOT your typical desert environment. My favorite is the Mesquite. This one Dad transplanted the year they moved here.

It is a beautiful place. Soft and vibrant, it has a very feminine feel to it. Unlike the Mojave in California and Nevada, which, to me seems very coarse, brazen and strident, and at times, enraged, engorged with anger.

The Sonoran is harsh in heat and sun, yet there is a yielding to the rugged mountains and dry river valleys. It seems to be an acceptance of the earth beneath, twisted geological turmoil that formed this land. It is laughter at the rolling, everchanging weather feeding and watering, blowing and freezing, nurturing and killing with beauty and deadly charm.

That is the Sonoran Desert I know here in Green Valley where my parents made their final outpost of their physical life on this broken ol' planet.