Shake the Bones
Being alone has always felt right to me. Peaceful and effortless. An opportunity to let out the breath I forgot I’d been holding, unclench my mind, and open my senses. Conversely, being around others inevitably becomes draining. I enjoy the company of people - humans are, after all, social animals - but can only do so in small doses. People are loud. They always want to talk. In fact they usually never stop for more than a minute or two. When they aren’t talking they are doing. When aren’t doing they are wanting.
Ultimately, the only way I can truly recharge my batteries is to be alone for a while.
“We need solitude, because when we’re alone, we’re free from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.” ~ Tamim Ansary
NOTE: The entire image gallery from this trip can be found here.
The official reason to leave Texas was to escape the wretched Juniper pollen that peaks there in January and February. While that was in no way subterfuge, part of me also simply wanted to get away. A change of scenery coupled with some serious alone time. A chance to regenerate. New places to hike. Quiet spaces to write and to contemplate.
At length I decided that Prescott, Arizona provided everything I would need. Within a days drive of Austin with a moderate winter climate, it is nestled in the mountains of Northern Arizona which would provide ample outdoor opportunties, is somewhere I’d never been in all my previous travels, and is proximate to both Sedona and The Grand Canyon. I would end up spending a full month there at a cabin on the edge of the Prescott National Forest with beautiful views of Thumb Butte and the surrounding hills and valleys.
Being a remote working excursion I was reminded just how much of ones life that a career consumes in a given week. To have just eight days completely free to oneself out of any given thirty seems an affront to the pursuit of meaning and the worthy use of ones limited time on Earth. The evenings, at least, were a chance to write and think. I worked on this blog a fair amount, switching from Jekyll to Hugo and implementing numerous other changes I’ve been meaning to get to for at least two years.
The weekends, however, were where the real action happened. I did some light hiking and sight seeing in the hills surrounding the town. I took a weekend trip to the south rim of the The Grand Canyon and another to Sedona by way of Jerome, an ecclectic art community established quite literally on the slopes of Woodchute Mountain. I did astrophotography in the evenings and read about the history of the region and how Prescott and the surrounding area came to be populated by European settlers. Conveniently written by those same Europeans, it was missing important perspective of the native Yavapai who had lived there for over five hundred years before being displaced to reservations by the White Man.
I have since returned to Texas to spend the remainder of the winter, in the company of good friends, with less Juniper pollen in the air. With the Spring Equinox I will be on the move again, returning to the verdant Pacific Northwest until Autumn settles in once more.