On day three of my Arizona visit we headed to Sedona. It is about an hour or so to drive there from my in-law’s home in Phoenix. We were promised red mountains and so we all anxiously awaited the view of them. Postcards and Google pictures simply cannot prepare you for the site of these mountains when you are able to see them personally. They are spectacular. This is what I thought all of Arizona would look like before I came here. These red mountains look to me like enormous, colorful, inverted icicles that are jutting from the earth. I found myself thinking of Radiator Springs. If any of you have watched the movie “Cars” then you understand the reference.
Once in the town of Sedona, I am immediately reminded of Lake George, New York. Lake George is a seasonally popular tourist town that has a tourist strip on one side of the lake. While there wasn’t a body of water close by, the similarities between the places were quite remarkable considering how far apart these two places are geographically.
There were some distinctions, naturally. The very first
place we visited had to be one of the coolest shops I had ever visited. It had rugs made of the hides of animals such as cows and caribou. Caribou! It had the most exquisite leather goods such as purses, wallets and belts made by the local American Indians. We were greeted by a woman of modest proportions and this only exaggerated her large firearm that was holstered at her hip.
So that is a little different.
She reminded me a lot of my Aunt Sherry. I could see my Aunt running this store, working with the local American Indians to showcase and sell their leather wares and jewelry while painting the landscape on her easel in the back – all the while having her “cowboy gun” (as she calls her revolver) strapped to her hip in the same fashion.
I am reading a book called “The Lovely Bones”. It is a remarkably disturbing book, but there is something beautiful about it. What makes it beautiful is the view that the dead have on our lives here on earth. The way that they can see us and feel what we are feeling but can have limited influence on our lives.
I lost my Uncle a few months ago. Sometimes, I feel that he is with me. Reading this book is enhancing that feeling. When I was in Sedona, I felt as though he was walking beside me, pointing my attention here and there. As if we were seeing this place together for the first time. In that way, I stood before a shop window admiring the revolvers thinking of him when I spotted a knife. Not really a knife, but something that represented an arrowhead strapped to a bone of an animal with a leather tie. It was beautiful. I was overwhelmed with the desire to buy this for Uncle Don this Christmas. It was then that I realized he didn’t need it because wherever he was now he could touch and admire these beautiful things at any time he felt like it. I felt as though he was saying that to me, so I wouldn’t be sad. My son came up to me at that moment and said, “Uncle Don would have liked it here.” If I could have spoken at that moment, I would have told him, “Baby, he is already here.”
As we walked down the strip I admired the motorcycles where the people drove without helmets – it is not a law here to wear them as it is in New York – I felt very much at peace.
Sedona is not a place to live. It is so remote it is like being on another planet and that makes the people there seem peculiar to me. However, it is my hope that Aunt Sherry finds her way here one day when she is ready. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.