Happy Winter Solstice from Tucson, Arizona
Memories flood back to me as a child to young adult in Tucson, Arizona. I arrived moving from Creswell, Oregon living with my Mother’s parents and my Sister Aunty. I attended elementary school there after moving from a double-wide trailer in Las Vegas, Nevada after my Dad left the Airforce to help with his father’s care eventually and moved to Tucson, Arizona..
Also, the memories of my Mother’s Spirit in joy is there and losing her to Covid 2020 and my Mother-in-Law to the same a few months earlier was a challenge to my heart. It was a time of fond memories and tearful ones living in a place that was not lush with forest like Oregon. I was fond of Oregon and the poppy fields in bloom and the snow as well.
I remember being in the choir in Church and High School. I was a soprano and Mom an alto and my younger brother was a devilish altar boy and older was the usher. My Dad didn’t come to Church. He found it hypocritical to worship statues and think that the only space God dwelled was in a man-made building instead of your heart. Mom being raised by nuns in the Japanese-Philippine invasion made her almost a nun which meant she had unfaltering faith in God.
The Organist and Choir Director was named Carl. A temperamental creative composer of the Gregorian Chants and hymns. We attended an Eastern Byzantine Rite Catholic Mass which was a constant chanting back and forth from the priest and the choir during the masses. It was beautiful and we were on the radio back then.
Carl had get togethers at his home in the Spring but decided to have it at Sabino Canyon and picnic and hang out by the water. Mom took me and Janet from the choir there. I was 10 and Janet was a quiet gal. Carl gave my Mother the directions. Unfortunately, the mustang she drove broke down. She was out and we were waving at the choir members going by and they never stopped to help as we pulled off the side of the desert road. We waited for hours and no one from the choir even thought to come to check on us. It was a blessing that a Boy Scout Leader showed up and helped put water in our car and give us drinks as we made our way back home.I always was curious how Sabino Canyon was like. Unfortunately, we never made it out there again.
Well, I decided one of my many firsts on my own to go to Sabina Canyon to hike. I drove and it was a little crisp as my ‘grandson’ would say as memories in Georgia of apple cider during the winter months were present in the household and I made mulled wine for my daughter, her partner and they enjoyed it very much on cold rainy days.
Then Carl who was the Choir Director, Composer and Organist at our Tucson Church and the choir members flooded my mind. He had died 10 years before my Mother. His spirit came to me as he apologized for being so self centered and trying to cover up that truth that he was gay in a Catholic Church and tried being so funny and joked alot with members as one of them had a crush on him. He was too busy not noticing us stranded by the road and apologized. He felt so peaceful and filled with light instead of the temperamental perfectionist Carl I knew. Finally I arrived at Sabino Canyon.
I went to the Visitor Center and asked about the different trails to hike as recommended by the ranger at check in to do. I told the staff I was from Georgia and she showed me where I wanted to see the dam on a map and pointed out the trails and sites with markers. There were many people out that day for hiking. It was in the mid 60 degrees Fahrenheit and not a cloud in the sky. As I walked with my layers, I began to peel off the winter multi-colored beanie I bought on my road trip here with my brother’s prompting from a gas station called “Loves' ' and my hoodie. I saw cacti and desert plants and mostly the army of saguaro cacti. I then smelled remnants of horses on off trail where riders could explore marked trails. This was a place you couldn’t get lost because there were so many leading back to the start.
I then saw a sign “Watch out for Mountain Lions and do not approach or leave small children and pets unattended.” I was assured by my Pure Light Helpers that nothing was there to harm me on my own.
I then walked past a camera crew ready to film a promo of Sabino Canyon’s attractions and near running water. I heard a reservoir of water coming from the dam. I smelled a faint smell of desert gritty sand and mud with water and saw tumbling rocks .I decided to walk near the water and tried to cross. Heaven help me as I tried to cross and fell into the water and wet my winter socks and shoes and some part of my jeans. It was a baptism I felt and got up quickly to continue my walk as the water was colder. The heat from Father Sun soothed me and I didn’t feel uncomfortable. In just a short distance; I saw large stones where a woman sat journaling. People were greeting each other along the hikes with a smile encouraging me to enjoy. I was and wasn’t bothered getting wet as I was drying and sat on a large stone a little further from the young woman.
I pulled off my socks and shoes to squeeze off excess water and to sit and dry and witness the desert beauty. The ancient jagged rocks over time had the nature spirit’s faces appear as I always ask the land if it is okay to step into their domain. I was welcomed and one nature spirit was a bear with a drum saying I would achieve one some time. It was amazing. I saw a roadrunner dashing in the distance and stopped a few times to take a look in my direction. It was a silent time of appreciation of being alive and another Winter Solstice in the desert wasn’t so bad compared to soggy rainy days in Georgia where I came from and my children were.
The mountains covered with the Saguaro cactus tell me a message: Stand strong and firm as they were witnesses like the trees were in Georgia of time evolving and moving forward. That we must stop our wandering and searching for the answers and find ourselves again like the saguaro by being still and finding self and your sacred spot". To witness things instead of creating a list of things to do to fulfill or make an illusional requirement if I do this; then that is the meaning of my life always doing. Is it? The saguaros said; “Ground yourself and look into the eyes of Father Sun and soak in the warmth of love from the sunbeams and appreciate the water from the arid perspective of their being.” I then saw below water cascading over rocks at different speeds and building up enough weight further to push itself forward. This was water I saw as the reservoir moving towards the dam. Sometimes patience is required to be still for growth and then accumulate knowledge to move forward like the water. The water was clear and you could see stones. I then began to sing in my soul language a few times before getting up to head towards the dam where the water cascading with force. I kept hearing this song I shared with others to inspire by Sia on Youtube “Unstoppable.” Once you take the time to rest; you can see simplicity was everywhere and that’s what I was taught to appreciate the simple things in life and not be bothered by anything, even getting wet. I almost dried and then heard the dam.
I came to a path that led me to larger stones around the dam and had my shoes on carrying my socks still wet and beanie. I then decided to cross over the water removing my shoes to walk in the water and then cross over to the other side. I was inspired to experience this observing a small boy and his family that took off his shoes and socks. A simple teacher for us all. I then took the trail upwards and the crevices of the rock had some shade from the sun in full view of majestic mountains decorated with saguaro. You could sit in the crevices and the beauty was breathtaking with the fresh air. What a beautiful day. I then walked upwards to the paved road where the temperature was pleasant. I smiled amused at feeling so free and with nature. People stared at me like I was high on something but I was high on life. I continued to smile unbothered, still drying for 100 feet to my car. Time flew as I found I was there a couple hours taking my time to appreciate the moments I missed as a child and be in the present. It was surely a gift to me.
We just need to be still, patient, grounded and feel the appreciation of the moment in the present.
Nothing is required, nothing to do and nowhere to be. Just be free and love life and yourself once again. I
hope this helps you during this Winter Solstice as time does pass and the abundance moves into
reflection of the things you’ve accomplished and learn and take the challenges and failures as markers of
understanding and adjustment without criticism. Love to you and Happy New Beginnings to plan for in
the New Year. Be one with you and you can be one with others but like the trees shed all the excess labels,
the material things or and just simple be you. You are beautiful and can be loved as you are. Just start
with you. Thank you for being here. Surrender the old self; rebirth the new and live life in simplicity and
breath it all in. Namaste and Peace to you.