The Arizona sun feels warm on my face and my whole body is just sucking up all the Vitamin D it can absorb. Peering out from my sandals, my toes look the happiest they’ve been for months, even though a pebble occasionally jumps up from the trail to lodge under my foot. After enduring piles of snow for the past two months, everything feels delicious.
Moving ahead, trailing behind, or amiably ambling next to me are my two brothers and three sisters. We’re exploring the fascinating Desert Museum outside of Tucson. It’s a museum, zoo, and botanical garden all in one and I’ve been making the acquaintance of some animal species I’ve never encountered before, such as the somewhat pig-like javelina, which roams wild and like our deer, can do a number on local landscaping. In one cage is a roadrunner, running, of course. The video on my camera isn’t fast enough (or I’m not) to capture him, but he climbs up on a pile of rocks and poses for a still shot. One of my sisters comments that until recently, she thought a roadrunner was just a cartoon figure. That’s not an uncommon belief, I’ve discovered. But he’s real enough. Just doesn’t go “meep-meep!”
As we wind around the museum’s paths, we also encounter a variety of cacti and other desert flora. Some of it is in bloom, although they do say in a few weeks, it will be quite colorful. (Which seems to be the story of my life, at times. Either too early or too late.) We find a hummingbird garden and see a mother hummingbird sitting on her nest. Also, a bird sanctuary, which sports quail and other birds unknown to easterners. We see a wolf, rattlesnakes, a gila monster, bobcat, birds of prey, and iguana, to name a few, before deciding that our feet need a rest and head for the charming open-air restaurant and lunch.
We are spending the week in Tucson, the six of us. Every day is a new adventure: the Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, the Mission of San Xavier, the Tubac art colony, Biosphere 2, Old Tuscson (an old West movie set), and the Kartchner Caverns. At night, we relax and have a happy hour, during which time we dredge up all the old stories/arguments and do a lot of laughing. Then we eat dinner, followed by a soak in the hot tub (or gene pool, as my brother calls it) until bedtime. For a bunch of old—well, a bunch of seniors, we’re doing pretty well. In fact, we are mightily blessed.
This is the third time we’ve taken a “siblings trip,” the first about ten years ago, right after we officially became orphans. Ranging from our 60’s to our 80’s, we live a fair distance from each other and so it makes sense. We’ve been gravitating to the Southwest, which is fine with me. Yes, at times tempers flare and the old “I did not!” “you did, too!” surfaces. Kids, take note: some things really do never change.
But generally speaking, we’re family. And in the long run, all that counts.