Weekly photo challenge: The road taken

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A road? More like some washed-out tracks in the Arizona-Utah scrubland.

This is where I was a week ago — and loving it. Even though my friend was threatening to walk back to the state  highway. And even though my stomach was lurching and I was whispering under my breath “turn around.”

I’m thankful we didn’t.

They “road” turned and dropped off and then became a stream. But even there, far from suburbia, we happened across two young boys doing wheelies up and down the rocky moonscape. And as we pondered whether to cross the stream, they waved us on.

And we did.

And we found rocky outcroppings even more amazing.

The lesson? Listen to little boys if you really want to see some cool stuff.

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February in Arizona

 

I visited Arizona with friends last week. We stayed with my friend’s daughter and her boyfriend in Phoenix, and they took us to explore northern Arizona. The scenery changed often and we saw many beautiful places as you can see (above). We attended an Oscar party and went to the botanical garden in Phoenix. We stopped on a dark road and looked up at a sea of stars. We ate excellent Mexican food and drank potent margueritas. We went off-road in Utah and drove across terrain that looked like the surface of the moon. We followed the GPS on a gravel road on a reservation to a big crack in the earth where water roared through rapids that kicked up spray to where we stood above. I slept in a bedroom where the floor was covered with pennies glued to the floor.I thank my friends, Karen and Tom, for letting me tag along and I thank Jackie and Mike for taking the time to share their incredibly beautiful state.

I am determined to do something I’ve never done before every month of this 60th birthday year.

In January, I took part in the Women’s March on Washington. I’d never done anyththing like that before, and it was the largest march ever.

In February, I went to Arizona and stepped into Utah — two states I’ve never visited.

I’m still not sure what I’ll do in March. I’ll let you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day in D.C.


I got on a bus at midnight on January 21 and dozed most of the way to D.C. On that day, I took part in the Women’s March on Washington, which turned out to be an historic event of gigantic proportions.

While amid the masses of people, I knew it was huge but I had no way to conceive its size. All I knew was that the people were all ages, all races, men, women, children, old and young. No one was angry — lots of laughter. A lot of people looked like me — grandmoms wearing pink, knit caps.

What I will remember most are the swells of cheers that periodically swept through the crowd like gigantic waves. You could feel them coming toward you as if they were something you could touch. And then you’d be cheering with everyone and they would pass on. The closest feeling I can compare them to is cheering in a football stadium.

Afterward, we searched for ways to get back to our bus as the Metro was shut down. And then a cabdriver stopped for us, and all was good.

So I got back to the bus, dozed again, drove home and went to  bed.

The next day and after that, I found out how many people marched all over the world for human rights, to make sure we would be heard and seen and counted (if not listened to).

Since that day, people have tried to belittle what we did, to cast us all in the same mold, to disparage the millions, to discount our efforts as pointless and shallow. I don’t understand their comments, or the need to demean our choices.

All I know is I’d never done anything like this before. I was apprehensive and a bit scared, but as soon as I started walking through the neighborhoods on the way to the rally I knew all was good.

Families greeted us, women took selfies with DC police and National Guard, and everyone was happy to see us.

Why did I go?

I only know I felt that I had to. I’ve never felt this as strongly. In a week I would turn 60, and I knew I’d been silent for far too long. Education, healthcare, the environment and religious rights are all important issues for me, and I don’t agree with the changes this administration promises to make.

As I marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, I realized that I, too, have a right to have my voice heard. I, too, am part of a large segment of America that is taken for granted and overlooked — older women.

The trash of more than a million people — without any trash cans anywhere – was cleaned up and paid for (a stupid complaint I heard) and not a soul was hurt or a window broken.

Since then, I’ve become more involved — contacting representatives, attending meetings, supporting causes I believe in. Speaking up.

And I don’t intend to go backward silently.

To the cashier at Trader Joe’s

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You were the only person I spoke to today.

I don’t say this to sound sad or anything. It’s just true. I enjoyed my day.

I went to the gym. Texted several people. Chatted on Facebook. Baked. Read. Wrote. Typed Merry Christmas many times.

But the only person I actually spoke to was you, a young man who made me smile.

First, you congratulated me on my choice of ice cream. Jingle Jangle. A holiday specialty at Trader Joe’s. Chock-full of sweet and salty goodies. (I’m actually digging into it now.)

Then we talked about all the fun items the store carries during the holidays. Chocolate and hot pepper-dusted almonds. Pumpkin cheese cake. Cranberry everything.

And then you asked me what I was looking forward to during this holiday time.

It was a sweet question — and I told you about my grandsons. And how I had seen them the weekend before and would see one tomorrow on Christmas Day.

And then I asked you what you were looking forward to.

Your eyes lit up and you lifted your arms above your head  as if you were going to cheer.

“We’ve wrapped up some baby things for my in-laws to open,” you said. “That’s how we’re telling them we’re finally pregnant again. We have a six year old, so this will be a big surprise.”

And I thought, how sweet. What a good man. I wished you well in the coming year — and you did the same.

I walked back to me car in the cold, raw rain, smiling.

If I had gone to a big supermarket today, I would have stood in long lines and been rushed through.

But you took the time to treat me like a human being — and share your joy.

Thank you for that. Our conversation was enough.

It was a Christmas Eve gift.