I might just have my life figured out. Well, mostly.
There was a time before I lived in Tucson, when I imagined myself clad mostly in faded jeans, cowboy boots, and a straw hat (but not exclusively), driving a beat-up, dusty pickup truck past saguaros and cholla buds under the wide open desert skies with craggy mountains on every horizon. If the memory of my imagination serves, I was a high school teacher at some middle of nowhere rural outpost town, living in a rustic house where I watched the sunsets, read endlessly and learned to play the harmonica on the porch under the warm night air. But I could be making that last part up.
If I’m honest, this dreamy and imagined existence I once had of my then future self, first exploded onto the plain of my not always so grounded mental playing field, one summer evening in middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania. I was working on a 30 acre organic farm with some of the best people ever to stick their fingers in the clay soil along Lost Creek. Visitors abounded that summer, almost as frequently as we spent the nights along the creek, enraptured by the fire, stories, and laughter. At some point during that wetter than usual growing season, punctuated it seemed by more weeds than crops, a friend of a friend showed up with tales of teaching in a far away land called the Southwest, where there was no rain to speak of and road runners were not only cartoons.
It was a point in my life when I needed no help making plans, only deciding which to follow, but somehow the dusty life appealed to my imagination and stuck around in some nebulous form or another. Evidently it has manifested itself, in many ways without my realization, until only the last few days. Here’s how.
Clearly I am residing in Tucson, Arizona, though hardly the dusty, rundown, rural mirage I once envisioned, but still the desert nonetheless. And a whole wide range of other similarities to that aforementioned idea of perfection. But the epiphany that has so recently slapped me in the face, thanks to that “friend of a friend” from the creek on the farm in Pennsylvania saying “hello” completely out of the blue, and the wailing of some good ole’ fashioned blue grass musicians, is just this: that whatever half-crazed idea of my life I had during that summer of fresh veggie eating, dirty fingernail scrubbing, and organic produce cultivating, I am now right smack dab in the middle of it. Half-crazed or not.
So I’m not a high school teacher (with no plans to be), and though we dread to even say so, Tucson will one day get swallowed by the beast that is Phoenix if we don’t run out of water first (fingers sorta crossed I must say) and is therefore NOT rural in the least, I miss too many of the sunsets, and don’t read enough at all. BUT, my truck is the Websters Dictionary 217th Edition Honest to Goodness definition of “beat-up”, I’ve got a straw hat that fits me almost as well as the one back on the farm in Pennsylvania though it is less authentic for sure, somehow I am pulling veggies from my old flood plain dirt in the backyard, and that feeling that goes with the old imagined version of me today, is actually how I feel about life right now – which is downright goooood.
AND, to top it all off, about a week ago as the young boys of the Old Crow Medicine Show made sweet sweet bluegrass music, I danced and hopped around in my brand-new-but-used cowboy boots, realizing that I might just have it all figured out. Well almost. I think.
At least I feel oh-so-good. I mean check out these boots! Though my footwear standby is definitely flip flops, everything is better with a good pair of cowboy boots I have now decided.