Lessons in the Sand

                           December 9, 2010


Location:                    Tucson, AZ




            The Arizona sky is still a bright blue with just a hint of white wispy feathers to add contrast.  It would be unfair to call them clouds, or to hint that they might lead to any thing meteorological that might portend moisture.  We are in the desert and it is dry.  On Tuesday we washed our very dirty, but now very shiny, home.  It was a chore that found me getting a lot more water on myself than Aurora seemed to be getting on her.  And yet when we finished I may have been tired, but I was nearly dry.  Moisture just disappears in the air in Tucson.  This, of course, caused Aurora to have a bad case of water spots and will cause Connie and I to have a bad case of tired muscles as we wax this monster, but that will have to wait for another day.


            Once our home was cleaner and back to her beautiful self it was time to decorate for Christmas.  Some people may find it very strange to go Christmas shopping in shorts and short sleeved shirts, but I fond it extremely pleasant.  Some of the native people in Tucson seem to think that 70 degrees in the sun is a day that requires long pants, a jacket and gloves.  I, on the other hand, am wearing shorts knobby knees and all.  What is wrong with these people?  On the way to the store we run the AC in our car and place the sun shield in the window to keep the car from becoming a boiling pot.  I must admit that it is a bit chilly in the store near the freezer section and me standing there turning blue in my shorts as the rest of the customers are wearing winter garb does cause some eyes to be turned.  But when I reenter the warmth of a sunny day as I walk to my car I do thoroughly enjoy the pleasures of walking in the bath of warm sun light.  Come on people, it is 75 plus, shed those winter jackets and join the real world.  It is also nearly mid December, and this is grand.


            We are learning a few lessons as we attempt to adjust to our new home.  Our friends invited us to dinner on Tuesday after we finished our day long chore of giving Aurora a bath.  This was, of course, very much appreciated.  It also meant that we had no rest from our day long chore.  After getting Aurora cleaned and our supplies taken care of it was time to clean ourselves and prepare for an evening of fellowship and food.  This is not a bad thing, it is a Voyager thing.  Rest is seldom an option, and boredom is word that seems not to be in the lexicon of the park.  Our dinner lasted 3 and a half to 4 hours and the time seem to pass in an instant.  We all had a lot of catching up to do and a lot of plans to make.  Like I said, boredom is not an option here.


            I also learned some of the finer points of southwest Christmas decoration principles.  In the front of our site, Connie and I have a rather large palm tree of about 15 feet that we felt was crying out for some decoration for the holiday season.  We thought that a sting of about 100, small lights would look wonderful on it.  At the store we decided to get the box of 200 lights, because I would always rather have too many as apposed to too few.  As I was placing the lights on the Palm tree, where I learned lesson number three, Connie was extolling the fact that I had purchased too many lights, and now what was I going to do with all of the left over string of glittering bulbs she had in her hands.  A funny thing happened.  As I finally reached the bottom of the tree the large ball of bright bulbs in my wife’s had had disappeared and we barely had enough lights to complete our task.  Lesson 2 had taught us that palm tress are bigger than they first appear.


            Lesson 3 was a much shorter and more clearly understood realization.  I learned that those picturesque frowns and bark like appendages that decorate palm tress are really secret weapons of death.  As I was, somewhat, carefully lacing the long string of lights around our tree I very slightly touched the tree.  So what, you ask?  Well in the instant that I touched this beautiful decorative foliage I caused three rather deep gashes to appear on my hand and a torrent of blood to flow forth.  I realize that green and red are Christmas colors, but I would rather the red come form our chili pepper light  that we placed on the tree and not from my knuckles which were now brightly adding festive color to our Christmas decorations.  Maybe that is why there are not too many Tree Huggers in Arizona.  It would not be a wise avocation.


            Our tree is now decorated. Our home is getting decorated.  And I am healing quickly.  It is still the Christmas season and it is still going to be near 80 degrees this afternoon.  We will turn of the heater and turn on the AC, or at least open all of the windows, and the sky will remain blue and clear for the rest the day and maybe for the rest of the week.  I think I can get used to this climate.  Christmas does not have to be celebrated amongst the pains of frost bite and the drudgery of shoveling tons of snow.  It can be enjoyed in shorts.  And green and red does look good against a sandy brown back drop.  White light still look festive when placed, very carefully, on a cactus or a palm tree.  And an “Open Door” policy can mean more than you will allow anyone to come and visit.  It can mean that your door is open and so are the windows so that you can enjoy the pleasure of a warm winter Christmas breeze while resting in the desert of Arizona.