I searched for those keys at the crack of dawn, for as long as I could. It’s hard to intently scan the ground in a blooming desert, without falling under the spell of every wildflower and sparkling rock. You try focusing on the desert floor when every bird for a mile around is singing, and the sky has “gone live” with oranges and pinks!
I gave it my very best, but as of 8:30 a.m., I declared the desert had official care and custody of my keys. I asked to find them with Gram’s eyes, and it seems to me she said (and I can hear her stifling a laugh) “I guess you’re going to Tucson now!”
I wasn’t just hoping to avoid the cost of replacement keys. I was attached to them. I used to wear them around my neck on a lanyard, and my daughter lovingly teased me about this sometimes when we travelled. I think she felt they didn’t suit me, or perhaps couldn’t understand why my pocket couldn’t work just as well. But they suited one with memory deficits in a requisite sort of way.
After our travels together last year, I found a beautifully woven wrist band for my keys, made by a Navaho artisan in New Mexico, and I retired the lanyard. So the new one – now somewhere on the Sonoran desert floor- reminded me of my daughter, who I like to imagine cheered my fashion update.
Also attached to the keys was a bear-claw pendant. My animal has always been the Mama Bear. I’ll miss that reminder of who I am, but remind myself that I carry both my daughter and my bear inside me. Sometimes we think we need things to remind us of important things. But the important things dont require reminders. Hopefully this perspective will help some of you now deep in the process of “downsizing” in preparation for hitting the road.
Lastly, it had my mailbox key on it. Odd, perhaps, to feel sentimental about a mailbox key, but I remember picking it up from the little rural post office when I first arrived in Cape Breton last summer. I recall feeling they seemed to be expecting me. How I felt, finally, that I was holding the key to my forever home in Canada.
Anyway, when it was clear Gram had spoken, I made an afternoon appointment in Tucson to have a new key programmed. I also realized it was time for an oil change, and was a good idea to have a general van check up. Maybe Gram new this before I did. That got me thinking about something else she passed on to me.
If I were ever delayed or re-routed in traffic, Gram would say “Be thankful honey- you’ve been spared something up that road.”
She truly believed “inconveniences” were a form of divine intervention, sent to steer us clear of more difficult paths, and it was our human responsibility to be thankful for the road block. Not easy to stomach at 20, but now it’s a truth I choose not to part with.
And of course, one door closing means another opening, and the gift behind the lost key door turned out to be connecting with two very inspirational women I have been friends with online since my van-journey began.
One “happened” to be staying just a few minutes from the dealership, and she and her partner joined us right there at the shop, where we had a little lounge (with free coffee!) in which to enjoy our visit. We must have put on quite an animated show for the quiet crowd waiting for their vehicles, as we energetically swapped stories and sentiments. She has oft been my online support person when I have struggled with addictive behaviour, and it meant a lot to meet her in person.
My other friend joined me at the BLM land just south of Tucson and among other delightful topics we just barely skimmed, I learned about a personal growth technique she teaches, called “Soul Collaging”
I’m meeting so many soul sisters (and brothers) out here on the road. We enjoyed visiting for over three hours, sitting on my little “porch” outside my van, until well after dark.
So, don’t think for a moment the nomadic community you connect with online while planning to go out on the road is “just an online thing.” So many women I first met online have become dear friends. Treat emerging relationships in “virtual” forums with the same care you nurture face-to-face friendships and you will find friends for life. Oh dear, now I have to issue a bad-pun alert!
We’re at a quirky little BLM site, south of the city. Dogs and cats roam freely. There are a large number of schoolies, with many dusty children running in and about them like it’s summer vacation, even though it isn’t. Happy Hippy Music is escaping both neighbours’ rigs, which can almost blur the highway noise. This place is as colourful and as this morning’s sky. I’m just as blessed to experience it.