We spent the preceding couple of weeks checking off the days and last-best items on the handmade calendar Natalie had crafted for us. We did all the things we wanted to do one more time — including the last minute, virtually pointless and certainly gratuitous race to the Wednesday farmers’ market downtown in the middle of twelve projects that all had to be completed before we could leave; and the last minute trip to simply say, “So long” to the beach, and the giant whale sculpture that Echo called Wilma. And we said, “See you soon!” and “Thanks again!” — to both of Natalie’s parents, both of their partners, their mothers (that’s both Natalie’s grammas if you lost track), and even an aunt, uncle, and a few close family friends, as well as several new friends, and contacts we made in the Positive Discipline community there, and the Girl Scout troop that Echo was active with in Santa Cruz (foreign exchange student style only with Daisy Scouts; and we were her host family…). We packed up every single thing that we’d brought, bought, or collected and hadn’t used, installed, returned, or lost already — which included making piles of things to get back to Juju, and arranging to get all twenty-nine library items back to the Santa Cruz Library, and Echo taking a pile of shells back to the ocean. We cleaned everything as best as we could while still being in the space — cleaning ourselves into corners left and right — practically sweeping behind us as we exited, hoping before we left her to restore Garden Pearl to a state even better than we when entered.
We took our time with all of it. We metered out a slow rhythm to our leaving, savoring it in much the same way as we had our arrival.
I felt like — on top of getting to enjoy it, and enjoy enjoying it as the sun set on our wonderful time there with all of those wonderful people, I had what I can only describe as a super-power ability to hold it’s passing in much the same way as I do the passing of the seasons in Montana. It just had that same feeling to it for me — I could trust in the Santa Cruz season going even though I didn’t want it to as it was happening, because I know there’s much I love in the seasons ahead, including (especially at that moment) the next Santa Cruz season. I think I enjoyed those last-best things all the more because I felt that sense of it being more, “So long!” and “Farewell!”, rather than “Goodbye.”, and because it all counted as bonus rather than loss.
Then on Good Thursday, we hit the road. And by hit it, I mean we beat it down for ten grueling hours along and then across the parched, frizzled middle valley of southern California, over dry gulch after dry gulch, through the Mojave desert, passed bizarre, alien landscapes, and into the striped yellows, oranges, reds, greys, and greens of Arizona.
On Good Friday, we went to the Grand Canyon! We “Whoa”ed and “Woooo”ed at the edge and over into the abyss just enough to get good and dusty, and dizzy. It’s weird to stand there looking into that big of a hole in the ground.
On our quick tour through the park along the South Rim of the canyon (at the end, really), we also stopped at the Desert View Watchtower. It isn’t a preserved or restored ancient structure as I initially misunderstood it to be (it was built in the 30’s), but it is modeled both after structures in the area built and used by ancient peoples, and to celebrate some of the cultures that had historically used the Grand Canyon area.
I know this shot (above) turned out a little strange — I turned the phone-camera on it’s side, used the panorama feature, and started over my head, moving toward one wall beside me — but it was the best way to show the whole view. At the top of the tower you can, you know — view stuff.
After we “viewed” for a bit and enjoyed the stoney acoustics, I ran back down to the bottom, out onto the roof of the gift shop, and took a shot of Natalie and Echo in the tower window. (Same shot as above, just incase you’re wondering…) See them up there?
And then I ducked back in, and was taking weird panos of the ceiling, etc., when I happened to catch this candid shot of Coco leaning over the edge of the middle floor railing. You can see the stairs slanting upward behind and to the right of her, and there is a similar slant of stair above going to the small, separately-enclosed tower room.
After that, we jumped back into our cars — remember we’re driving tandem — and drove six more hours of crazy, frost-heaved and pocked-marked, 70-mile-an-hour-2-lane back hiways to Durango, Colorado in order to give our workshop and visit our friends-who-started-out-as-blog-relations that live here.
But more on that tomorrow!
Be well. And may all your days be Good days.
And Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!