This past weekend I was in Cottonwood. It’s a small town about 20 minutes this side of Sedona, with views of the mountains and a laid back, uniquely western kind of attitude that makes you want to forget about stress or deadlines, and just enjoy life. It’s not completely devoid of the trademark civilization elements, like Walmart or McDonald’s. It isn’t that far out of the city, and yet even those monoliths of enterprise have a different aspect in the setting of this Arizona town.
The housing developements are not fully developed, and there may be a mobile home down the street from a custom one. It doesn’t seem as though property value is the highest commodity known here: life value seems to trump that.
Art is big in this region. Sedona is just a short drive away, and the old mining town of Jerome is even closer, and slightly more challenging as you drive up the mountainside into the tiered remains of what was once a thriving western town. Now it’s full of shops and galleries, some restaurants and one very busy biker bar. It’s a genuine experience up in Jerome. And, it’s home to a well known foodie destination called the Haunted Hamburger. Don’t go just because Rachel Ray was there. Do it for the sense of adventure and the view.
I’m a Californian by birth, and a southerner according to my “roots”, so Arizona was not a place I ever expected to call home. However, life often throws us curves, and it’s better to be a utility player sometimes. (Please forgive the baseball analogies, I’m not sure what’s come over me). In any event, I’ve been in Arizona for a few years, and now I’m even heading up into the hills to become a full fledged resident of Cottonwood. I’m taking my art supplies and a spirit of serendipity, accompanied by a sense of purpose and design. It’s all going to work together, and out of this mix will emerge, hopefully, a life filled with happy surprises, industrious adventure and a decent amount of income with which to pay for this foray into the Verde Valley.
Even the name of the region is optimistic: Verde Valley, or green in Spanish. There are wineries in the region, and fine artisanal vineyard and winery right in the neighborhood: Alcantara. I wrote about visiting there in an earlier post, and it’s a spot I look forward to seeing often, to enjoy the wines and the views, both of which are excellent.
Driving back to the east valley, I was surrounded by black clouds and rain that poured continously for the two hour drive. But, just as I was close to home, with the Beatles singing It’s All Too Much, a rainbow appeared in front of a sudden burst of sunlight. It was faint at first, barely visible with so many clouds hanging around it. As I got closer to it ( it always looks like that, doesn’t it) it brightened up and became this beautiful arching beacon, signifying…maybe nothing. Maybe a new beginning, and a clearing away of the old stuff and whatever might have held me back from achieving what’s still out there. I don’t know. But it was lovely, and exciting in the way only a rainbow can be.
It’s still raining, and tomorrow begins another week full of the same stuff I did last week, except that now I’m looking for boxes and checking the calendar to see how many days I have before everything changes. Who was it who said “the more things change, the more they stay the same” ? Not this time. This time change means what it says: change.
It’s all too much, for me to take, the love that’s shining all around here…excerpted from It’s All Too Much, by George Harrison