Shifting Gears


We recently bought a tiny new convertible. If you’re looking for someplace to zip around in a sports car, it’s hard to imagine a better place than Fountain Hills. The dips, curves, and scenery all seem custom made for it.

We traded in a truck, the giant old pickup that tagged along with us on our move here even though we really had no use for it anymore. It had gone from having an active role hauling my art career around the country to being unused for months at a time, taking more than its share of space and gathering dust in the driveway. It needed to go.

But it was hard to let go of that truck, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it signaled the end of an era and a big life change. We were also worried that the minute we said goodbye, we’d begin kicking ourselves and think of a thousand things that needed hauling.

Now that it’s gone, I wonder why we waited so long. The convertible has only enough space for my husband, myself, and my new small purse. Period. That was a hard commitment to make. After years of driving big vehicles with good reason, it required a mental shift. But this fits my life now.

The other morning I took a walk on what turned out to be our first 100 degree day. I noticed the world seemed quieter than it had been for awhile. As if the clamor of spring had settled into something more subdued, plants and animals both preparing to hunker down into the long months of AZ summer. It was a subtle but perceptible shift. Even though I was a bit saddened by it, it felt right.

After my walk, I went to DJs to pick up a bagel for breakfast. The breakfast crowd consisted of me and one other guy, with no one else in the place. A far cry from the line out the door and jockeying for a table to which I become accustomed in the winter. I’m sure it’s hard for places like DJs when the seasonal visitors go home. I have a lot of gratitude for anyone who’s willing to navigate business ownership in a place where the population fluctuates like ours does. To survive requires continual adjustments and a big-picture view. I looked around and decided that, for the summer months, I should make a real effort to adjust my own habits, to spend more of my money right here. I want our local businesses to survive the summer too.

Recently, a much older friend said wistfully, “I’m now collecting doctors, whereas I used to collect interesting things like rocks, and blue and white china, and exotic plants.”

As a result of downsizing our house, I’m still trying to sort (and get rid of) so many boxes of interesting things I’ve collected in my life, so much I’ve treasured. I could relate to the particular mix of acceptance and sadness in her observation. It’s a bit daunting to think of the transitions I’ve yet to face, the many things I’ll be required to let go.

Of course I know the seasons will continue to turn. It can’t always be spring. That’s okay, I hope to face many more hot AZ summers before I’m through, and remain adaptable enough to thrive.

Whatever’s next, I plan to enjoy it traveling lighter, eyes on the scenery, sun on my shoulders, wind in my hair.


image by Laura Taylor



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