Opening sleep laden eyes to see gorgeous undulating hills and not a soul in sight, other than your lover, is one of my all time favorite moments. To hear nothing but birds cooing and unspoiled beauty everywhere you look is a great way to start a day.
Once in Flagstaff, we headed to the post office to mail Christmas thank you cards and Kobe’s retainer, which he had left in my car. We wandered around downtown, hoping to be as lucky with a good breakfast as we had been with last night’s sleep spot. Following our noses, we discovered MartAnne’s, a vibrantly colored restaurant, bedecked with paintings of partying skeletons and seating for around 25 people. The line out the door and the delicious smells told us it would be worth the wait. Homemade tortillas, fresh salsa, rice, beans, perfect eggs, sauces that make you want to lick your fingers. Dee-vine!!
We backtracked along I-40 and headed north to the Grand Canyon, arriving with only an hour or so of daylight. One of the treasures of visiting national parks in the winter is much fewer people. One of the drawbacks is less daylight to soak in their majesty. No problem. I donned “snivel gear” as Jeep calls it: hat, gloves, an extra layer and we walked the rim of the Grand Canyon. I felt disappointed that the hazy sky would mean I would miss the flamboyant sunset colors. Then suddenly the pink, purple and golden flames shot through the horizon, contrasting beautifully with a cornflower blue sky and snow against red rock and sage and dark green vegetation. First I saw Venus, then the stars came out one by twenty.
Dinner at the lodge was cozy and another people watching extravaganza. The best was the small yipping dog in a stroller than Jeep and I both thought was a baby until we saw the furry muzzle. A long drive through Navajo country revealed that the reservation had become more crowded in the last 20 years, with little open space. A streetlamp stood sentry next to each house, casting an odd orange glow that exacerbated the desolation for me. Honestly, I was grateful it wasn’t daylight. The extermination of American native people scrubs against my heart like a scouring pad leaving me feeling unbearably broken hearted. Finally we found a place to rest our heads outside of Bluff, UT.
The wind was cold and biting that night, so I snuggled deeper into my sleeping bag until I fell asleep and dreamed a wondrous dream of working my heart’s desire in a community I loved. And although prosperous, altruistic creativity is my number one birthday wish, the most defining aspect of the dream was the people in my dream. They were genuinely, noticeably kind to one another – taking care of each other, looking out for each other, protecting, trustworthy. Family.