Moveable Roots

_MG_4358 (1)


Update: The Bighorn Fire that started on June 5 continues. As if June 30th, it has burned through 115,000 acres.

Above the Sabino Canyon Loop, dark pink stripes of fire retardant cut jagged paths in the Catalina Mountains. There’s a small glow in a distant cleave of hills but hopefully, it’s the last of the six-day Bighorn Fire that was started by lightening.

Nineteen people signed up for this evening meet-up, my first ever, anywhere. But only five of us show up for the Friday night “stroll” that starts in the gazebo. It’s 101 degrees out and COVID-19 restrictions have only recently been lifted.

Joe, in his late sixties, appoints himself the de-facto leader. There is also Ann who moved here recently, like me, around the time everything shut down. Another woman, originally from Riverside, California and her Tucson-born teenage granddaughter, join us.

As we walk, Ann and Joe chat about RVs and campers. It turns out they are both from North Carolina, originally. She plans to give up her rental in Tucson when things “get back to normal” and see the West while she practices telemedicine.

Joe intimates he got tired of traveling around alone, with the exception of a girlfriend for a time, terrified of driving his RV. He sold it and now lives in a home on a golf course.

The grandmother and granddaughter beg off the rest of the hike and turn around, wishing us a happy stroll.

Soft gold light wraps around the cactus and yucca trees, over granite boulders, and into the higher canyon. There’s a hush of crickets, of silence. I stop to listen, grateful that I decided to leave my camera at home.

More conversation in front of me: The latest wireless technology, the pros and cons of joining RV clubs, and the jiggering of jacks and hitches and other equipment. Ann seems undaunted.

She asks Joe if he’s good at fixing things. Laughing, he tells her about a repair to his RV, which he didn’t know how to tackle himself. He hired a repairman who turned out to have only one arm. The story doesn’t seem to score any points with Ann.

I’m guessing she likes her men handy and not because she can’t do the job herself. She changes the subject, turning around to ask what brought me to Tucson. I give her the short version, something about a new chapter and feeling drawn to the desert.

Ann and I chat about travel, hobbies, and the state of healthcare, while Joe listens quietly.

At the turnaround point, I wonder, not for the first time, if the woman who bought the house in Novato has uprooted my roses and put down new landscaping. I miss the white blooms with pink edges, especially. The name of this rose has the word “moon” in it, but I can never remember the rest.

I also debate, yet again, whether to go back to California this summer to deal with the storage unit. I’m just not sure what to keep and what to let go of. There was the Great Purge early last summer, but much still remains:  The red wagon that my dad gave our daughter to ride to the park in. A king bed and frame. A dining room table that seats eight. Pots and pans, artwork and mirrors. The clothes that some other me, wore. Family photographs, Lily’s art and lesson books.

On the return stroll, Joe holds his flashlight out in front of us, so we can watch for snakes and scorpions. Ann points out a baby snake in the sphere of light. We stop to watch it slither across the asphalt and into the brush.

We see a couple of cottontails, too, but no scorpions. Joe tells us these are best seen at night under ultraviolet light, anyway, revealing their gorgeous blue-green glow.

When we return to the gazebo, it’s nine-clock and the temperature has dropped to a slightly cooler 94 degrees. Joe volunteers to help Ann out with local RV and camper resources, but she gently brushes him off and doesn’t offer to her phone number.

I drive home without the GPS, letting myself get lost, which I do sometimes because I get to see more of Tucson. In another canyon, up a winding road lined in gated luxury communities and massive, lit-up resorts with empty parking lots, I realize I’m starving.

The young woman at Thai restaurant in my neighborhood, that I’ve been meaning to try, smiles and takes my order from behind a plastic head shield. There’s a sticker on the front of it, advertising shields for $5 a piece. A side business, maybe.

The goofy, happy dance and a toy offering greet me at home. The dog settles into his California bed while I eat my dinner.

Before I turn out the lights, I water the succulents, wandering Jew, and shark’s skin agave plants. Some of these potted plants started as cuttings given to me by neighbors, others, I purchased.

They seem to be doing well in soil and containers and they remind me every day that roots can be moveable.

One thought on “Moveable Roots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s