Monday, February 13, 2017

52 Stories: I Always Go Back To...Arizona

I found these loose photos of a trip we took over Thanksgiving break, 2004. We flew into Phoenix and spent a day at my brother's place. It was warm enough to swim. Then we headed north to ride the Verde Canyon Railroad, visit Tuzigoot National Monument, and stay a couple of days in Flagstaff. It was not warm enough to swim up north, and Eric remembers how he would have preferred to stay in the warm south, since that is why one goes to Arizona in the wintertime. We spent time with my grandparents, then went south again, all the way to Tucson, and had Thanksgiving with my little sis before heading home. It turned out to be the last time I would see my darling Grandpa Bob before he died the following spring

It was a great trip, and I know there are other photos somewhere, but I don't know where, and if I get stuck in worrying about that, I will negate the point of this project. Thus, I'm using these two to prompt a brief but loving reverie.

52 Stories asks if there is a vacation spot that I've returned to over and over again. While I think of it as much more of a vacation spot, that place is undoubtedly Arizona, as regular readers will know. I make no secret of my affection and affinity for the southwest. We first visited there for Christmas when I was about 11, and then a few years later I spent a couple of summers there with my grandma, and I was hooked. I went for Christmas one year during college because I couldn't afford to fly home, then as often as possible in the many years since.

The draw was strong because most of my extended family (two grandmas, aunts, cousins) migrated from Utah to Arizona in the 70's and 80's, and there we established our family homestead of the heart. My brother moved there, several siblings went to Arizona for college, other siblings settled there, and the pull became stronger as the years went by. There's never been just one house, so it is a homestead of relationships. I often say that I feel homesick for a place I've never lived, and that is because so many of the people I love most are there. If I ever get to live there I'd be perfectly happy. In addition to being more easily in the company of my family, I would be ever-enchanted by the wild weirdness of the desert, the peace and pines of the mountains, and the beauty of the light.

Arizona has an astonishing variety of ecosystems,
and I love that we found this glorious autumn color in the Verde Canyon. 

And here I am with my grandma. She's 94 now, so this pic was when she was 82--a sweet young thing.  I hope to see her in a couple of weeks. 

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