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September 22, 2010

Our last home outside Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains was situated at 4000 feet overlooking the Tucson valley. The ad listing the house for sale mentioned a view from Baboquivari to Picacho Peak, two distinctive mountains gracing the skyline.  (How I wish you could see through my mind’s eye right now.)  We could see them both from our back porch.  What a wondrous place to live.  Magical.  I’m longing right now.  Really longing.

Wow! This is making me homesick.

Baboquivari is the dwelling place of the mischievous To’hono O’odham God, I’itoi, the creator of the earth.  I’itoi resides in a cave just below the peak . Visitors to the cave are asked to bring a gift to ensure their safe return from the depths.  I’itoi is said to have brought the people to this earth from the underworld.  They are said to be ancestors of both the Tohono O’odham and Pima people.  I’itoi gave his people a series of guiding commandments that help them remain in balance with the world and interact with it as he intended.

Midway between Tucson and Phoenix  lies a rocky volcanic island in a very barren desert named Picacho Peak.   During the Civil War it had been a Confederate stronghold.  However, Yankee soldiers attacked and outflanked the Confederates and ultimately won the “Westernmost Battle of the Civil War.”

Picacho is a grand pitstop between Tucson and Phoenix because there is an ostrich ranch just to the south of the Peak.  I love visiting the huge birds that ultimately will feed the inmates of the Arizona prisons.

Curt and I have a lovely painting by a To’hono O’odham (formerly “Papago”) artist that shows his view of both mountains from the west side.  You can see how lovely the skyscape is with their silhouettes espaliered upon it. If you click on the picture below you can see the incredible detail.  I heard once that Chiago used a brush with a single hair for his finest details.

Scene at the bottom of Chiago painting of “Papago Myth Origin”

According to To’hono O’odham oral history, the labyrinth design depicts experiences and choices we make in our journey through life. In the middle of the “maze”, a person finds their dreams and goals.  When one reaches the center, we have one final opportunity (the last turn in the design) to look back upon our choices and path, before the Sun God greets us, blesses us and passes us into the next world.

Chiago painting of "Papago Myth Origin"

What is this “home” I miss so much?  Is it the landscape?  The desert?  My house? My life?  Me?  What do I mean if I say, “All of the above”?  What was alive, awake in me then, that is sleeping now?

I miss the freedom to come and go as I pleased. To explore the desert with abandon.  To visit my friend Josephine in her stifling hot trailer and paint all afternoon, drinking strong coffee with artificial creamer, talking and talking and talking.  To daily greet my totem, the hawk, as she perches on every other telephone post, or sails across the bow of my car– blessing me.  To sit on the concrete porch watching summer storms here and there across the valley.  Or listen to the toads singing after a rain.  Or to waken in the middle of the night to the “hoo-hoo” of our resident owl.

Freedom is what I miss — the freedom that came with all this beauty attached.  My senses were no more alive then than they are today, but I had or made the time to indulge them.  I dined on ambrosia.  And today, just today, I grieve for that lost delight.

I no longer live in the Sonoran desert with all its wonders.  My friend Josephine died several years ago.  I now gaze out on luxurious farmland and have a mountain peak out my back window.

The butte at sunset in winter

The butte and surrounding hills, though mostly brown and barren, save me from flatness.  I lived in flatness once in Milwaukee, where I escaped to the clouds to find the mountains I missed so much.  Flatness?  No.  There’s nothing wrong with my life today.  It’s just different.  Crowded.  I have more responsibilities with the alpacas.  I’ve taken on more work with the causes I adore.  And I’m writing for myself now, not for others.  (That’s another story for another day.)  So I grieve a little, a deep felt twist in my gut, for a life that was pretty wonderful, except for the scorpions and mice in the house.  And I look at today — my life here is pretty wonderful.  I, like the maze man, have circled another round, deeper toward my center.  I guess I’m just looking back on the choices I’ve accepted and being thankful that I’ve had them.  No regrets.  I just miss them.  And that’s O.K.

Look what I have today:

Alpacas and setting moon

Great blue herons now fly across my car distributing their own special blessings.  Sandhill cranes come twice a year to feast in the corn stubble.

Sandhill cranes in flight

I can grow vegetables and have fruit trees, a blessing that the desert cannot offer.

Ripening tomatoes

Roses, too.  My house came fully equipped with a rose garden — red, purple, orange, fushia, yellow, white.


And, of course, the 100 alpacas that keep me soooo busy, yet liven and fill my life to giddiness!!!



And more babies!

And no matter where I go, what I do, what I have, what I see — I have my man.  My man.

Curt n Nanc

So, the homesickness is waning as I count my blessings and look at what I have now, instead of what I’ve lost.  I guess that’s the value of knowing the maze:  I circumambulate life in a transparent, translucent labyrinth.  I can revisit the previous rounds in spirit, but I can never go back.   I can know that I still have access to the power and light that they held because  they are deeply woven into my very being.  But like manna, although it nourished me then, it would not nourish me today.

Idaho offers me plenty to indulge myself in — the ambrosia  — of sights and sounds and wonders — that are her very own — my very own.  The Sun God greets and blesses me every day, even when hiding behind the clouds and at times liquifying or freezing.  My heart opens daily to her excesses and promises. And when she’s ready to escort me into the next world, I will not resist.  In the meantime . . .

I am where I am on the face of the earth.  Where I am is full.  I am unfolding as I should.  And I am content.

Rainbow from our back patio


8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2010 10:11 am

    I love the photo of you and Curt, Nancy! You can see that you’re crazy about each other!

    My friend, Katybeth, had a post about “home” today too…


    • September 22, 2010 1:27 pm

      We are crazy about each other after over 25 years. Thank you for leading me to Kaybeth’s blog. It was such a lovely story about her home and the dragon. I too hope she’ll stay there. Love, N

  2. September 22, 2010 10:26 am

    Glorious — just glorious
    Both then and now…


    • September 22, 2010 1:29 pm

      Bless you, Arlene. It felt good to write myself through the homesickness. I do love where I am right now. Nancy

  3. planejaner permalink
    September 22, 2010 11:02 am

    what a gift this post is. Just…lovely. Both longing for what has passed and embracing what is present, honoring both and glorying in the goodness of the path…

    p.s. love the pic of you and your man. How lucky you both are to be in the embrace of the other.

    • September 22, 2010 2:08 pm

      We are really blessed to have each other. Thank you. And love. Nancy Send

  4. September 23, 2010 2:58 am

    That looks like an amazing place.
    great pictures here

    • September 23, 2010 7:25 am

      Thanks, Richard. It was, and the current one is, amazing. There are so many amazing places upon the face of this earth! Nancy

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