Thursday, December 15, 2016

Be Back Soon

I’ve been in Tucson for more than two weeks now. Arizona and Kansas are so different in many ways for me. In Kansas I am rather isolated in the country, while here I am in mid-town Tucson, part of a four-person intergenerational family. In Kansas the nearest grocery store is twenty minutes away, but here I can get to Sprouts Farmers Market in just three minutes. Although a million people live in this area, midtown gives me access to everything I need within the neighborhood. There’s even a crematorium not far from our house, just in case.

I can’t write in my Chicken Creek Journal while I’m in Tucson because the two places are so radically different. Today I’m switching to my other journal, Tucson Off and On, to record my alternate reality. I hope to be back here in April 2017, assuming I won't need to patronize the neighborhood crematorium in the meantime.

Before we left Kansas, Dennis hung old quilts over our uncurtained front windows. 

Copyright 2016 by Shirley Domer

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Be Here Now, in Peace

All through November I meant to write in my journal about peppers, but it didn’t happen. I was preoccupied with attempting to weave my way through the maze of arranging for an infusion of my rheumatoid arthritis drug in Tucson on November 23. The treatment must be administered every eight weeks, so if that

We had planned to leave Kansas for Tucson on November 1. Having started packing in mid-October, we were living with half-packed banker’s boxes in every room. I was buying just enough fresh produce for a day at a time.

After numerous phone calls spread out through three weeks to both of my rheumatologists – one in Topeka, one in Tucson – I finally admitted defeat and delayed departure until I could get an infusion in Topeka.

This preoccupation with the future kept me from living in the moment. If only I had been able to follow that old Hippie slogan “be here now” (a principle shared with Buddhism and other peaceful, meditative religious) I would have written about the marvel of having thriving pepper plants on October 31, laden with ripening peppers. Our average freeze date is much earlier than that.

Finally, on November 13, we harvested the peppers after a freeze the night before.

I loved looking at the various shapes and colors. They are all peppers, but they vary in characteristics that define them as pimento, yellow bell, jalapeno, and so on.  Sometimes those of us who save seeds for next year find a few surprises when we discover that two varieties have crossed to produce a different pepper altogether.

People are like peppers. Some of us have dark skins, some light; some hold to one religion while some have other beliefs. We vary in many ways, but we are all people, easily distinguishable from apes and kangaroos. Sometimes people of different varieties cross, and produce a beautiful child. 

I wish we could just all get along, like the pepper plants in our garden, happily co-existing.

Copyright 2016 by Shirley Domer