Well, it’s been a fast-paced week… After My Lovely Bride chastised me for lusting after a 72-ounce steak in Amarillo, we headed west in the coach and arrived at our next event in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico. We stayed at an RV campground downtown, and one of the first things we saw was a cat strolling around. We see a lot of dogs in campgrounds, almost always on lead, but rarely a cat on its own. We were amazed when we then saw the feline climbing a ladder into the driver’s window-cum-cat door of the motor coach. The owners obviously allow their cat out for a walk on its own, because the ladder was placed in position for Fluffy to climb back in whenever nature’s call (or perhaps carnal desire?) was satisfied…
Santa Fe is the home of gifted transformational music composer Jim Oliver, with whom Suzanne recorded a guided meditation on our previous visit. We were able to get together with Jim and his lovely wife Jann for a New Mexican dinner with some of the hottest salsa we’ve ever enjoyed. Jim and Jann taught us that the most often asked question in the state of New Mexico is “Red or green (chili sauce)?” We found both equally delicious.
Santa Fe has some lovely hiking trails, and we chose one just behind St. John’s College, the Atalaya Mountain Trail, for a day hike. Here we see MLB relaxing for a minute, since we had last hiked at an elevation of 86 feet back in Florida, and Santa Fe is at 7,000 feet! We were both pretty tuckered out after our first Southwest hike.
Suzanne’s Getting Out of the Box presentation at Unity of Santa Fe was very well attended, and the attendees were enthusiastic and appreciative. There were also several college students and young couples there, a demographic that is usually absent back home in our home town in Florida. Thanks to Rev. Brendalyn for her hospitality and inviting Suzanne back for a third visit to Unity of Santa Fe.
While in Santa Fe, Suzanne received an email from a woman in Silver City, NM, who noted that her small town had seen an inordinate number of deaths of young people over the past couple of years, and asked her to come and speak there when she had a chance. Fortuitously, we had a couple of days free and were able to drive directly to Silver City where Suzanne presented her Meaning in the Messages talk last Friday. Even with such short notice, the event was Standing Room Only, and several people had to sit on the floor, but no one seemed to mind. We received a very warm welcome from Silver City, and would love to return in the future. The highlight for Suzanne was bringing through three young spirits to bring healing for their parents.
While we were in Silver City, we were able to go hiking and to dinner with a delightful couple, Denise and Scott Kennedy. They took us hiking on the beautiful Dragonfly Trail near Fort Bayard, an army fort that had been manned by Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Colored Infantry Regiment during the Apache Wars from 1866-1886. The fort was later used as an Army medical center studying tuberculosis, and housed German prisoners of war during WW II. Suzanne met Denise last year at her Unity Village weekend retreat in Kansas City, and we both enjoyed getting to know both Denise and Scott better.
Always seeking balance after Suzanne’s readings and presentations, we also got out for a mountain bike ride on the same trail we hiked, albeit an extended version. Here we see some of the petroglyphs (including the dragonfly for which the trail is named) that Native Americans etched on the rocks centuries ago.
This cholla cactus (Cylindropuntia kleinea) are known for their barbed spines which adhere tenaciously to passing animals, hikers and mountain bikers. Birds often nest in these cacti, presumably to avoid ground-based predators.
On another hike, near our campsite at an Elks Lodge, I found this warning sign as I exited the trail; but there had been none where I entered! Fortunately, I missed the opportunity of being attacked by a crazed ground squirrel or coyote!
Tucson was our next stop, and after setting up camp in Catalina State Park, I got out for a hike while Suzanne gave a phone reading. Catalina is famous for its 60,000 or so saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea), found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona and western Sonora, Mexico. They can live 150-200 years, grow to 50-60 feet tall and weigh 3200-4800 lbs.
There were also many ocotillo cacti (Fouquieria splendens) in bloom. Although it is not a true cactus, it provides some needed splashes of color in this parched desert environment. Those are the Catalina Mountains in the background.
There is some rugged terrain here, and not much water. I was carrying 3 liters in my backpack, because you never know when you might get in trouble and be out longer than expected. (Note to Judson Emens: Thanks for the Alabama visor. Not only did it provide shade, but as I passed another guy hiking, he said, “Roll, Tide!” when he saw my stylish chapeau; now if my LSU friends will be just as accepting… yeah, fat chance!)
Suzanne’s first event here was her Meaning in the Messages presentation to the Tucson International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS) at Unity of Tucson, where she had spoken last year. It was a warm and welcoming group, and she will be speaking to them again Thursday evening (Getting Out of the Box).
Finally, Faithful Readers of this blog may recall the dinnertime behavior of our Dachsund Rudy, who often pushes his food bowl around with his nose to let us known in no uncertain terms that he’s hungry. It was somewhat disconcerting when after a long day on the road, I noticed Rudy’s Dog-Mom pushing her wine glass around the counter with her nose, hoping that I would be a bit quicker in opening a new bottle of Pinot Noir that we had received from friends. (Thankfully, the stemless glasses are made of plastic and not crystal!)