ROAD TRIP FOR THE IMAGINATION

Leaving home on October 12, I had some thoughts about what I might encounter along the way. Home is Northern California and my destinations were many.: Santa Barbara to pick up my writing friend and traveling companion, Penny; getting out of CA as fast as possible; the south rim of the Grand Canyon.;  the Northern AZ Museum for its display of founder Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton’s wondrous paintings; ACOMA pueblo 

atop its great mesa where I’d wanted to go for more than 50 years; Ghost Ranch and Abiqui, Georgia O’Keefe’s incredible territory; family in Santa Fe, Rogers, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Tucson only to miss those in other areas; the Women Writing the West conference in Albuquerque and the much longed-for return to the Sky Islands of Arizona’s Huachuca Mountains           

of which I write and where I now am…so many miles, adventures, unexpected twists and turns in the pathway!

I’ve met and shared with amazing people on this journey but the most amazing was to finally meet Cheri Saunders. It was Cheri and her husband, in the 1960’s, who first found and mined the Blue Opals here. Despite several visits to her Gallery, I’d never connected with her. After her husband’s early death, Mike Anderson assumed a very important and big part in her life. It was Mike whom I’d met and conferred with over the years as the concept of  BY GRACE took hold of me. Mike was incredibly generous with his time, his knowledge and his support. .I only knew of Cheri as the elusive designer of magnificent jewelry, including the few pieces I accumulated over the years. When I last visited in 2008, I bought presents for my women and children in our family and a beautiful hunk of blue opal with its white and tawny streaks marking its uniqueness. As BY GRACE came close to publication, friendly jewelers wrapped the piece in silver coils and swirls and hung it on a leather cord. The necklace is worn by Grace on the cover of her book and has captured the attention of all who view it when I wear it.

I went in search of Mike, my consultant, to thank him and give him copies of my books. The Gallery was closed up and had the appearance of a long silence. I approached the adjacent home and shop, calling out for him. I have no hesitation or qualms about knocking on strange doors, a pattern left from my social work career.  But this wasn’t a strange door; I wanted to find my special friend. A silver haired, petite woman, in jeans and a lovely blue sweat shirt responded and I had no doubt who she was. As I told her of my mission, I knew what she would tell me…Mike was gone. I was two years too late and the sadness hung between us. We sat in the patio and talked of many parts of our lives. These are not feelings and details for you to read of. They are special, private and treasured.

In the final minutes of our visit, Penny joined us and we were the beneficiaries of Cheri’s generosity. She no longer sells her work nor does she design. Instead she offered us the bounty of her talents and we left deeply touched and thankful.

How does travel affect you?

Is it the scenery, the people you meet along the way,

or simply leaving your everyday life behind?

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9 Comments

Filed under Arizona Territory, BY GRACE, Historical Fiction, Reflection, Travel, Writing

9 responses to “ROAD TRIP FOR THE IMAGINATION

  1. Just a stunning rendition of an unforgettable journey. You left your heart in the Huachuca Mountains and your love on this page. Well done.

    • Dear Anne,
      As my travel partner last year, I treasure these words of yours. I’m thinking of ways to return, perhaps for a couple of months in the Spring. Being in that beautiful and historic setting nurtures my soul and writing.
      Thank you.

  2. Traveling to me is constantly finding another little piece of who I am.. Thanks for a beautiful blog, Arletta

    • Oh Andi,
      You hit the nail where needed! Travel does grow us, show us more of ourselves and opens doors to new understandings of ourselves and the world.
      Thanks for stoppping by and rendering your lovely words!

  3. Our footsteps leave tracks on the souls of those we meet as they leave theirs on ours. What a wonderful trip and that you for sharing your gift of memories.

  4. Reading and travel both enlighten the heart. Thanks for the blog about Grace, Arletta. She’s one of my favorite characters!

  5. Arletta, so enjoyed following your footsteps through a hauntingly beautiful land which we have traveled so many times. I fear we may never be able to return again, but the memories are, like yours, a gift for my heart, mind and soul and will remain so forever. Thanks for helping me remember that beautiful landscape once again.

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