Sonoran Blues and White Quartz


Last week I took my 84 year old mother to the airport. She went home to Massachusetts, accompanied by my brother, who came out to fetch her. She’s been visiting me for two months, enjoying a respite from the snow. She’s also been enjoying walks in the canyon, jigsaw puzzles, Mary Stewart Gardner mysteries, Senior Moments potlucks at church, and one Old Fashioned every evening. She also enjoyed the mini dachshund and read the paper to him every morning, greatly enhancing his education, although I wished she’d turned her efforts towards his house-breaking instead.

Mom and I dubbed it the year of the butterfly. The Stagecoach trail has been aflutter the last month, particularly with rare Sonoran Blues, aquamarine, tiny as a fingernail, dancing in pairs alongside the path. Mom also picked up white quartz crystals gleaming along the trail. She thought she might bring them home but has left them in a pile by the washing machine. Too heavy, she decided. She also left, to my surprise, a beautiful heart-shaped rock beneath the icon in my office. She rested it carefully against a gnarled piece of driftwood.

Although I’m free to get back to my own schedule, the house feels empty. When I went to strip the bed, I found her reading glasses and rosary beads. “Don’t mail them to me,” she said when I called. “I’ll either be back for them next year, or I won’t.”


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I See Y

xbranchI take walks with my friend Sandy, a visual artist. About 9 months ago, she stopped mid stride, pulled out her phone and photographed some branches. I couldn’t see the appeal. “It’s a Y,” she explained, as if that meant something.

Turns out she’d been keeping track of all the Y’s she saw wherever she went. Sandy is Jewish and most closely aligned with the kabbalistic tradition where certain letters have mystical meanings. For Sandy, adapting this tradition, Y  was associated with Yahweh, one of the names of the Divine. We had fun for months, seeing Ys everywhere. And Ys started showing up very subtly in her work, which is abstract and beautiful, full of color and organic movement.

Last week on the trail she stopped again. This time it was an X. As in an X on a treasure map, where X marks the spot. The spot of the present moment, where she is fully alive and engaged.

Try it yourself. Discover a letter that for you is full of meaning. Then look for it everywhere.

You can see some of Sandy’s work at


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