We hiked a lot, dusty rocks clinking and scraping under our feet. Cactus (cacti?) everywhere. One cactus was particularly poignant--pocked and stooped, like an old man, one who'd lived a satisfying and tiring life and was ready to topple.
We trekked Camelback Mountain behind a guy who made cell phone call after call, leaving messages to "come on down. We've got 9 holes and the most beautiful girls in this country." He was supremely distasteful.
We passed a couple talking about cancer, though they discussed it in vague, general terms, leading me to believe neither of them was afflicted.
A woman who was hiking with a friend said, emphatically, "That's a completely different sport. One wrong step and you're dead. You know it, Robyn? Dead."
Doves cooed all around. Exotic birds squawked from low bushes and orange trees heavy with fruit.
It was strange to imagine the kids at home, going about their routines without me.
One morning when J. and I were sitting on our patio sipping coffee, a cleaning woman walked past. Her face was so open, so sincere as she said hello, then crashed her huge cart into a tree. Small leaves fluttered onto her head and she laughed at herself, freed her cart and continued on.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about her.
The sun burned my skin. I knew I shouldn't like it, but I did. The light, pleasurable sting, the burnished pink, the way freckles emerged like constellations up my arms.
Then there was the flight home. We transitioned grumpily from our leisurely few days.
J. was anxious to get back, to unpack. I did not mind the return, but was in no hurry. In a few hours this would be a memory...time when there was no schedule, no agenda, nothing but hot sun and lively blooms and skittering little animals.