36″ x 24″ Oil on Canvas
I remember it was St. Patrick’s Day because the only person I glimpsed on that long walk home had green hair. It must have been two years ago, and I was the last one to leave the building, walking across the empty Arby’s parking lot at around 10:45 PM. The car started fine, but for some reason I couldn’t get it out of “Park.” I tried, for five minutes or so, different things—stepping on and off the brake pedal, turning it off and re-starting it, pressing the button harder—but nothing worked. Well, there’s nothing for it, I thought to myself, I might as well walk home and come for it in the morning. Lucky for me, I lived only four miles or so away. It usually only took four minutes to get home. That night it would take forty-five.
It was a cool night, but not cold, and the air was almost still, plus I had a warm jacket to wear. I knew Catalina AZ (just North of Tucson) rolled up its sidewalks at 8PM, but I had never experienced it first hand. It was beautiful—quiet and peaceful, with only the occasional vehicle barreling by on Hwy 77. No dogs barking, at least not anywhere nearby, and even the convenience store was devoid of customers. It was in front of the Players Pub that I saw the green-haired person lurching for their pickup. I don’t think they noticed me. I felt like a ghost. There aren’t many streetlamps, but there were enough businesses with their lights left on to keep me from utter darkness, and the stars, my GOD, the stars were incredible.
I started my walk in good spirits, enjoying the little adventure and the exercise, but I fully expected to be grumbling and unhappy by the time I got home. It never happened. It turned out to be one of the most sublime evenings of my life. I truly felt one with the Earth, walking with the Great Spirit, moving to the rhythm of the Universe. No one was demanding my attention, not even my own Ego or Id, which might have urged me to paint or read a book had I been at home. All I had to do was walk. Then She came. The mountains took on a shimmering glow that I was not fully conscious of at first. Then Sister Moon, in all her glory, just days from being full, rose slowly above the mountains. HUGE! If you’ve never seen a complete moonrise before, you need to make the effort to do so.
There is a rather steep hill just a few blocks from my house, and that gave me a pretty good cardiovascular workout. The adventure evolved as I entered the neighborhood—I could hear music playing, and I caught a whiff of something that smelled like bubblegum as I passed one house with a window open. I enjoyed walking as silently as possible as I passed an unchained dog asleep on a driveway. Someone was smoking a cigarette in front of their house. Then I caught a blast of orange blossoms, which wafted around for blocks, all the way to my doorstep.