My brother has been staying with me for the past few months. This weekend was the first in a while were we had the whole weekend to ourselves without any work or social obligations. We decided to have a bit of a lazy weekend but all still check off a few of the things he wanted to do before leaving in a few weeks. We started off with something that I had been curious about for a while, Saturday morning yoga at the farmers market. Doesn’t sound like a combo that would work but it was surprisingly relaxing and I felt really grounded afterwards.
In the afternoon we went to the Pueblo Grande Museum, which I had been to for work many years ago, he had been curious about it since the first time he saw it. From there he headed downtown and stopped into the Phoenix Ale Brewery. One of many places that I pass constantly and always think about going in but needed a guest to get me motivated. And it was pretty cool – try the watermelon wheat, it sounds weird but it was really good.
After the brewery, my brother wanted to toast Cinco de Mayo so we continued down to Los Dos Molino’s another “new” spot for the both of us. I was afraid it would be disastrously crowded but it wasn’t and we were able to enjoy a margarita and some appetizers on the patio with a view of the baseball stadium and downtown behind us. The experience at the museum spurred conversation about the environment, our role in the world today and how we can make it a better place. I felt inspired after our margaritas to take him to the Rio Salado Restoration; a place that I think is very special in the city and example of something positive happening in our environment.
On the way home I pulled into one of my other favorite places in Phoenix: Indian Steel Park. I hadn’t been in quite some time and sitting on the hill watching the moon rise and listening to the sounds of kids playing and water gurgling I was reminded why it was one of my favorite places. In the past it has been a place I have gone to find peace and realign the busy thoughts in my mind. I have had a crazy year and a few trips to the park probably would have done me much good. I will not forget about it again.
Sunday we headed south towards Tucson. We stopped to feed the ostriches. The ranch has turned into a full on petting zoo with donkey, deer, goats, ducks and lorikeets in addition to the ostriches. The entire experience is bizarre and trippy but silly enough to bring any out of towner to at least once. From there we meandered thru the Saguaro National Park, taking a brief hike straight up for a fantastic view of the cacti and the land beyond. We entered Tucson on Gates Pass Boulevard – which is just a beautiful way to enter the city. We headed downtown in search of a beer and some food and landed at Hotel Congress – a place that I have been hearing about since I moved here and yet never visited. Good food, great atmosphere – it lived up to 10 years of hype.
We headed home the scenic way – a route I had heard about but again, never tried – forgoing the 10 for the lesser known 77 and 79. And scenic it was. In reality we weren’t all that far away from the 10 but that slight shift in distance made the mountains seem all the more real and varied, even with the sunset rapidly pushing them into the realm of trompe-l’œil Hollywood flats. Rather than the dust devils we watched on the way down to Tucson we were surrounded by verdant desert. On the 10 it is hard not to feel like the area between Phoenix and Tucson is a wasteland but on a two lane highway we were passing through little towns, catching glimpse of people’s homes and communities. I think we were both filed with wonder and awe for this land that I now call home.
Lately I have been overwhelmed by an unending stream of questions marks about my future that have been burying me in depression and fear. I have struggled to focus and stay present. This weekend has been a reminder, a lesson in how to stay afloat. There is so much beauty in the present and I don’t have to know my future to appreciate it. I have always taken much love and pleasure in the little things in life- I have forgotten that lately. And if I can just do that, find that one thing every day – be it something new, or old, or that has always been underfoot and never experienced then maybe, just maybe, I can start to find some clarity and direction.