Arizona is home to millions of Americans and Phoenix is the capital city. It is a sprawling multicity known as the Valley of the sun.
The traffic chaos is a small price to pay to experience this desert beauty. There are craggy uncertain mountains in the distance under the Phoenix sun. The sky is mauve and pink and blue. Colorful hot air balloons rise high from the desert floor to overlook the threaded highways.
This is where the strangers gather to heal. A collection of men and women full of stories, pain, loss and living. Some of us come here to play. Perhaps we are meant to meet and help others find their way back to the sun.
At the stunning Westin Kierland we golfed with Drew and Karen. Karen only played a couple of holes because she is “broken” with knee and back problems that limit her mobility. Terry walked most of the course because he cannot sit in the cart with bad back issues when we played at We Ko Pa and Sunridge Canyon. At the Boulders south course we played with Mark an ex NFL football player and Don a retiree in his 70’s that continues to strive to get better with his game. Golf reveals the person, connects us and does not limit us. Life may not always be joyful but we can carry on.
Under the dark evening sky, poolside, we watch the jet fighters playfully dart from the mountain tops. Our tribe is here, under this full moon we meet for the first time. Terri and Dan share unspeakable loss in their family and have come to the desert to mourn and perhaps heal. How do you cope with a loss this big? They show us by wrapping their arms around someone you love and holding them up for a while. Lyle and I listen. We can offer compassionate hugs and comfort . We can all become friends.
There is a lot of research and discussion on how people can live to be healthy and active and alive towards 100 years old. Studies have shown that more than exercise and diet it is the social connection that are made daily that impact our life span. Lyle and I look forward to re connecting with Virginia, 102 years old and her son Fred, every winter on the beaches of Mexico. She continues to work as a real estate agent and winters on the kite surfing beaches of Los Barallies. There are many others in their eighties and nineties that are travelling, golfing and working. They are all an inspiration to us and a confirmation that family connections but also friendship and human contact are critical to the joyful long life that we look for.
The story is told that for every new arm on the cactus 100 years has passed. Maybe we gather here in the desert to grow stronger – like the cactus. Just like the towering Palm trees we are sent here to learn how to bend and maybe like the desert wild grasses, we will learn to let go and it will blow free in the wind. For sure we can grow free and live longer,more vibrant and colorful like the desert wildflowers if we choose, simply by making friends and staying in touch.
Today we believe life is an adventure. We take our attitude with us, grateful and joyful to meet many new friends and we renew our strength. We will make it a day worth living.
always in friendship,
Lyle & Wendy