A Month in a Minivan: Day 22

Anxiety is whipping around me like a strong Arizona wind, of which I now have first-hand knowledge. Instead of running away, I try to lean into it. As if it were a gentle breeze, and I a bird who could float on top of it, without being swept away into the up-current. It’s a strange thought, leaning into something uncomfortable, but I find it helps. Together with deep breaths. Which I like to imagine also add “buoyancy ” as I ride the fast-moving air current.

I know, now, to expect this internal “change of weather” each time I am about to begin something new, end something familiar, or say goodbye to someone who has become dear to me. It doesn’t make it easier, but knowing it’s coming, and why,  gives me time to prepare. With some luck, I may not need to call in The Riot Squad’s Mediator ;). 

Also familiar is my desire to put things in order before a change happens. Today I fill my water tank while I still know where water comes from. I wash two loads of laundry, while machines are still at my disposal. I take money out of an ATM machine I know works with my bank card. I say goodbyes to the ladies at the Wayside. I repack the van’s messy areas and organize my clothing, which expanded a bit this last week because I shopped –  in tiny little Wenden off all places! I still haven’t decided which clothing now has to be thrown overboard but it’s coming, because my bins are now too full.

Once my chores are finished  I decide there is one more “exploration”  left to undertake with my friend before heading out tomorrow, and that is to visit Alamo State Park, which is at the end of the lake;  a 20 minute drive from the BLM land. This is another strategy for managing change.

Be right where you are, until you aren’t there any more. 

The Alamo Dam

The park sits at the top of Lake Alamo, where the Alamo Dam does it’s intended job of creating a lake out of the Bill Williams River. This is the dam they wish to open in the near future. Our first stop is at the Park Office to get an update from a source close to the issue, so I can take current information back to the Wayside, where everyone is waiting for news. I like to try to be useful when I can, lol.

I learned a big meeting is happening today in Phoenix and a decision should be made later in the day. If they do drain it, it may be by up to 10 feet. They worry this will negatively affect the spawn, which happens in the shallows. It is a common story – People’s needs vs. Nature’s needs.

A view of Alamo Lake from the Dam


There are a variety of sites available at the State Park, the most rustic being only about $15/night, with access to showers, trash and water facilities. This is quite a hub for fisherman, and there are  new  fish-cleaning stations on site, as well as a little store that sells a small selection of basic groceries, T-shirts and other camping items. Although I appreciate the amenities, I feel no tug toward them. I’m learning how to navigate a world where I am cared for with just a little curiousity,  resourcefulness and some alterations to how I  “do things”.

I should mention that while Alamo Lake is a very serene location,  it is also in the general vicinity of a popular US Air Force flight training area (I’m assuming) I don’t know the details, but have enjoyed watching jets do maneuvers on a fairly regular basis. I know this may seem a bit odd, but I grew up beside Canada’s largest Air Force Base and loved watching planes growing up. We spent time today, watching them fly in quiet contemplation.

Signs of Jet Fighter Activity above Alamo Lake

My parents used to park at the end of the runway, and we would lie atop the car roof to see planes landing and taking off. I can tell you, however, that I never say anything like what I’ve been watching this last week. Sometimes there are three jets above (like today at the dam) and you can see them “target practicing” (with flares) and chasing each other about. It’s strange to be on the ground so close with nature, while such things happen above in a parallel universe. I don’t like to think about why this is so, but it is a rather fascinating to watch. If nothing else, it’s a scientific wonder. Another reason to look up, and not down, or back.

Mindful Walking means “noticing”

No day of exploration is complete without a walk in the desert. As has become a quiet custom, we take turns pointing out things we notice. New flowers are appearing.

A damaged cacti catches my eye and I find myself thinking about how we humans are similarly outfitted, with a  rather soft-looking  exterior with only the tiniest of prickles for protection, but with a strong inner world that supports us, and is only exposed when we have suffered an injury.

A Saguaro’s “innards” … a collection of woody “spines” that create a framework for the cactus, and deliver water into its arms.


After drinking in the sights and sounds of a new corner of this vast desert,  we head back to camp.

The day closes with a game of pool at the Wayside. I cheat repeatedly and was a terribly poor sport. I hope this misbehaviour might make saying goodbye easier.

Not all my coping mechanisms are healthy, but I’m working on it.

3 thoughts on “A Month in a Minivan: Day 22

  1. Thank you for your faithful writing every day. It has become my habit to read your words as I drink my coffee each morning. I share your anxiety at leaving familiar places and people, and as I prepare myself to leave my stick & bricks life, it gives me comfort to know there are others struggling, too. Thank you for sharing you challenges and coping strategies. You are courageous!

  2. Thank you again for sharing your “Day to Day’s”.
    It helps to prepare my mind, and alleviate my own anxiety about preparing and eventually the “Doing” of my own adventure.


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