Off the deck and into the wild—Sedona

Day Six (or is it seven?) May 13, 2013

Perhaps we overdid it yesterday, or perhaps it was seafood fettucine late at night, but I woke up not feeling well and with the mysterious rash I’d gone to the doctor for just before we left, back in full force and spread from my face to my neck and arms. “Your wife is a delicate flower that can’t bloom in this harsh climate,” I told Mike when he returned from his early-morning shoot of the outlying areas of Press-kit (very pretty, I might add.)

So, apparently I have to actually take the antibiotic and use the cream, and my rash isn’t cured. (It had completely cleared up in Yosemite and I’d thought it gone.) I loaded up on a tube of Vaseline and bottle of eczema lotion and pretty much coated my entire skin with it, because I discovered something else: I don’t like being hot, and the realization that most of our remaining route is going to be hot, has made me grumpy. (That, and the iching of the rash.)

I perked up a bit in the interesting mining town of Jerome, and the sight of Sedona’s red rock formations, glowing under the noon sky, lifted our spirits enough that I put the ZZ Top and Santana back on and drove us across the valley while Mike shot pictures out the window. Red Rock Park, however, was disappointingly small and boiling hot in the middle of the day, and when we rolled into Sedona tempers were frayed again. We are staying at the Sedona Motel which we found through geography (central location) and TripAdvisor (4.5 stars) and its main amenity, a wonderful host named Bill who smelled of sage and directed us to the best places to shoot when I told him Mike was a photographer.

So we retired to siesta through the heat of the day, passing out like bears in our cool air conditioned cave of a room, and then went our separate ways in the afternoon—me to brave the heat and walk to a little reproduction Mexican arts village called Tlaqueplaque (not even going to try to pronounce it) and Mike to do his sunset shoot. As I walked the mere two blocks, sweating but unable to feel it due to instant evaporation (is that what people mean by “it’s a dry heat”) I realized I have to adjust my expectations.

Forget about camping. I have to look forward to being cool at least while sleeping. And, with this heat, I want to wash off the B.O. Also, it’s okay if we don’t do any major hiking. My bum hip and persnickety skin are currently making such ideas a thing of my distant youth, anyway.

Having come to these conclusions, I felt my spirits lift and I was able to really enjoy browsing the lovely art galleries, every courtyard lit by lush fountains that cooled the air, and the tiny bright creatures landing on the potted flowers that I thought were butterflies, really were jeweled hummingbirds. (Sometimes, things are even better than you imagine.)

Everywhere you look around Sedona are these drip castles of layered red stone, sort of like melting wedding cakes. People on Maui know about Sedona—it’s that kind of place, full of art, culture, and New Age-y stuff. I saw signs advertising psychic readings, “aura” photos, tarot, crystal healing, singing bowls, and on and on. But also, people are wonderful. When I asked this young native American woman in a bead shop where a coffee could be had, she took time to discuss the various options, asking me what kind of coffee I was in the mood for, not just brusquely directing me to the nearest Starbucks (a prohibitively hot several blocks away.)

In return, I browsed her shop and bought a vivid strand of turquoise I’m wearing. Yes, customer service, and genuine encounters with real, lovely people have been as much a part of our trip as the vistas. We’ve both been surprised by the aloha we seem to find everywhere.

I’m loving the beauty and ambiance of Sedona now that I’ve embraced comfort and health as bottom-line necessities on the trip. Even now, sipping a glass of the nice Syrah Rick gave us in Palm Spings and typing at the window of our motel, I can look out and see the evening light moving down the incredible rock formations like the hours on a candle. Mike will be home when that light has guttered out, and take me to dinner, and for all of it and another day, I’m grateful.


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