How long will these perfect evenings last? At dusk, I go to my Zen spot, a slat back swing attached to an I-beam that looks onto a patch of dry grass and a make-shift fire pit. Sometimes our orange cat, Josephus joins me. He is the only one of our three cats that will jump up and swing with me. He leans against me and purrs. His coat is soft.
A wonderful, cool breeze ruffles my hair. To the west, the sun slowly sinks behind the horizon, its golden glow turning fiery red and painting the sky sunset—all the colors—magenta, gold, red and rose and lavender and dusky blue-and they change and blend and finally, as the last rays disappear, fade into night. The back-and-forth movement of the swing is soothing. Must-do thoughts disappear with the sun and are replaced with those of more consequence. Always, they end with a vision of heaven. Who created the earth? Who put the sun and planets into motion? Who made the sunset and set the earth into rotation so there is night and day and these beautiful evenings?
This is where I live, in a house my Uncle Tam built in 1974, in Lehi which was annexed to Mesa in 1970, in this part of Arizona where great-grandparents on both sides of my family pioneered and settled the area. I am a fifth-generation Arizonan. I have deep roots here.
Our home is colonial style, two-story with a basement, white siding, brick and black shutters and doors. Upstairs, in a small bedroom with a south facing window, I write. Recently I finished two books—a picture book for children, Angel’s Very Big Bag of Rocks, and Doing Time in Purgatory: A Medical Memoir About What it Means to be a Woman. Purgatory is what I call the room where I write. When I put Pergo flooring in a bedroom in our Tucson house, the boys called the room Pergo-tory which instantly morphed into Purgatory. The name is fitting for a place where I have explored my past, learned its truth, made peace with it and moved on. Although I write in Purgatory 2.0, I no longer am bound to the reality of my own history. Purgatory is where I became free. There is much more about this in the memoir.
Today is April 26, 2022. When I was thirteen, I used to sit on the trampoline behind our house and look at the stars. That was 1962. The year 2000 seemed so far away, yet I used to calculate how old I would be when the century changed—fifty-one. I wondered if I would ever live to be that old. The fact is, I made it and then some. I’m a lot older now, which is why, perhaps, I so enjoy sitting in the swing at eventide watching the sun set.