Mid December finds us settling in for the winter here in the desert at La Posa South, south of Quartzsite, Arizona. Clifford has his ham radio antennas up and is constantly working to improve transmission and reception of signals, an ongoing challenge with the generators and inverters that almost everyone makes use of here. There is no local power grid. We are each on our own with generators and/or solar panels generating the power needed to charge cell phones, run water pumps, and furnaces.
Most days I leave as soon as I can to walk in the desert, feeling especially fortunate when I can be be on my way before sunrise so as to catch the first rays of the sun as it rises above “Shale Mountain” to the east. I discover that from this camp I can walk to some of my favorite spots discovered on numerous walks last winter from a campsite that was not available when we arrived this time.
Some mornings it is too chilly or windy to sit, even in the sunshine, to drink my little thermos of tea so I keep walking until I return to camp. Most days I visit my brother Rollie and his fiance Tata, often having coffee or breakfast with them while Clifford is on his ham net before the activities of the day begin, mainly editing my daughter Ang’s last book. When weather permits, I play cello outside or sit out to write in my journal.
One day I go on a jeep outing with Rollie and Tata. The sky is a great blue, so the outing provides some good photo opps. There is some rugged country back in the hills when one gets off the main roads, great fun for the jeepsters and 4-wheelers. Unfortunately the road to the outback country goes right by our campsite and the parade of 4-wheelers and jeeps is a constant source of noise and dust. I would like to move to a more remote location, but hard to find something with a tree for shade and Clifford is reluctant to move once the antennas are set up. Oh well.
Almost every day Clifford and I get together with Rollie and Tata to play bluegrass music. Sometimes our neighbor Jon joins us. I have been playing fiddle tunes on the viola, while Rollie plays fiddle, guitar, or mandolin, Clifford plays dulcimer, and Tata plays bass.
Some days we run into Quartzsite for errands and laundry. No matter how efficient we are, a trip to town takes all day even though all essential services are only 10 miles away.
Winter Solstice was especially interesting with a convergence of planets easily seen in the western sky. I am not set up to take photos of it (cell phones have their limits), but it is still cool to see.
For our anniversary on December 23rd Tata makes a special spaghetti dinner. The next day, Christmas Eve, the sky is so hazy, I am reminded of the three days of darkness that have been foretold in some prophesies.
For dinner, Tata fixes turkey and I make the mashed potatoes. Though the sky is dismal, the gathering of family is filled with good cheer.
On Christmas morning, I go for a long walk before Clifford and I join Rollie and Tata to exchange gifts. The sky is mostly blue today, a good omen as I look for what is positive and good in the world this day despite the negativity that seems so pervasive due to covid and the toxic state of the environment.
It is up to each one of us to find the place of peace and harmony within and manifest it into our world the best that we can.