We emptied the last of our things from the condo, we packed whatever would fit from the garage and at around 1:30 pm that Friday and we slowly pulled out of the driveway for the last time. What a mixture of emotion that was for me. For a few moments, I would be homeless moving from one place far away to the next. Given the time of day, we were going to hit traffic in the worst part of California but it wasn’t a terrible drive. My poor little kitty in the seat next to me was not a happy traveler but in a way, needing to constantly comfort her on a 7 hour trip turned out to be a blessing. We pulled into the last stop before truly saying goodbye to California and I felt a little sad. California had been my home for so many years. I loved the little condo we had rented and it had been so very comfortable for the last 6 years. I fed the kitty to try to calm her and watched the grackle birds foraging for French fries in a parking lot filled with other weary travelers. With kitty fed, watered and somewhat calmed, I jumped back on the freeway.
It was just a few miles to the border of Arizona. My daughter was a few miles ahead of me on that long stretch of lonesome between Blythe and Phoenix. I was in love with the desert, in awe of the shape of a new horizon. The cacti and birds, the sun setting behind me casting a beautiful and eerie glow over this long, long stretch of nothingness. I felt an energy as I drove. It was soothing and exciting. I was worried about making our way in the dark and hoped we’d hit city-lights before full darkness set in. Driving the I-10 in the dark is beautiful but a bit scary when you are used to bright lights of the city at every turn. But, my only focus now was how close to our new home and new life we were. I fought back the fears in the darkness – did I make the right choice? Will this be good for us? I had to cut them off because staying put wasn’t an option. Our condo would be sold and re-renting in Southern, California was just more than my budget could bear. I settled into the thought of pulling into my new driveway of my new house, one I bought on my own through my own hard work and diligence. I was excited beyond words.
We got in and settled our poor little kitty cat, who no doubt was grateful to no longer be caged in a car speeding across the desert. She settled into her favorite soft blankets, played a little with her toys and we left her there safe in her room, snuggled up and finally calm. The house was empty as our things would not arrive until morning. My real estate agent left us some very necessary supplies and gift cards for necessities. It was getting late but my daughter and I were too tired from the drive to go get food. We had water, and enough supplies for the night. We made camp in the loft and watched The Office in make shift beds on the floor. I was so tired but struggled to sleep. There were so many sounds in the house, new creeks and noises to get used to and then there was the heat! Oh my, was it warm. In time the AC fully kicked in and we were quite comfortable.
I had packed my coffee pot in the car and the next morning, I was set for familiar comfort. With coffee made, I stepped outside to take in the Arizona (as we called it). It was 56 degrees in the morning on Cinco de Mayo. My backyard was filled with birds and my heart was feeling overjoyed. We did it! We made it! Soon, the movers came and brought us more of the familiar and my other daughter finally made it in from the Phoenix airport. Over the days, weeks and months since that day, our house has become a home. It is a comfort and shelter from the unforgiving and often punitive summer heat of the desert. I love the house and the family it so graciously holds. The energy here is like magic. I love watching the humming birds flit from flower to flower and tree to tree while I’m sipping coffee and watching the sun come up.
I have been called to this place for so long. I have waited so patiently all these years to manifest this dream. Now, it is my reality that I live and breathe. It’s quiet and comfortable here in the valley. We have wicked lightning and thunderstorms we watch from my huge bedroom windows. It’s better than TV! The heat is daunting but has it’s own uniqueness to it. People here just get on with it – shop – dine – walk – ride bikes. Maybe folks aren’t out in the summer as much as they were in CA but it’s almost Fall now. I’m meeting some of my neighbors now and gradually getting to know the area. I can find things and places and we’ve explored fun places like Scottsdale for an Art Exhibit. So much fun, that was. It was so different from what we’d do for fun in California.
If I’m honest, I’d tell you that I miss the sea breezes back home and the power of the ocean. But, we have warm desert breezes and sunsets wild and red over our local mountains. We are surrounded by mountains and it’s so amazingly beautiful. There are desert flowers everywhere and even the medians on the roads have trees and cacti. I really do love it here and would not trade it for even 5 minutes of the beach back home. It is less crowded here and traffic here in rush hour is like a Saturday afternoon back home. We’re really settling in.
So, what do you do when your dreams come true? Well, I’m starting with pure unadulterated gratitude. I am working on allowing new dreams to become apparent and then I’ll work on those too. I’ll open my mind and heart during those quiet Saturday morning coffee breaks on my patio. I’ll plant some new plants in bright desert colors and just remain open to the possibilities. I’ll drink in the beautiful peaceful state I now find myself in and I will love every stick, stone, sky line and moment in my new surrounds. Thank you California for some beautiful years and challenging life lessons. Thank you Arizona for welcoming us home! Blessings for gratitude in whatever adventure you find yourself engaged in.
© 2019, Jaie Hart