This is the view from inside my teardrop trailer. How am I supposed to get any work done with a view like this enticing me to daydream instead of write?
I should’ve known the moment we stopped at the entrance gate to the Lost Dutchman State Park campground in Apache Junction, Arizona, that nature would be ready to play hard ball to win my full attention for the next two days . . .
We chose a spectacular campsite that typically is claimed by the camp host but was available during this trip. This week’s camp host was instead set up next door to the one we were interested in. Good thing, ’cause we fell in love with ours right away . . .
Cactus plants all around. Some very much alive . . .
others providing valuable service as they delicately decayed . . .
I enjoyed the outdoor space, while Mark took his time with setting up the trailer . . .
and a few “features”–like the outdoor shower . . .
and the chili-pepper lights and hummingbird feeder . . .
I tried to settle in and stay focused on my writing for the day, but how could I? With Gambel’s quails strutting about the perimeter . . .
and cottontail rabbits bouncing about, too, it was all I could do to keep my head down and follow my own words. When I wasn’t distracted by the wildlife, I had this view to contend with . . .
The second day, we headed out for an early morning hike. There are many possible trails at Lost Dutchman, from easy to difficult. We chose a moderate one which afforded views like this . . .
after which we gladly ended the day like this . . .
Sadly, on day three, we had to leave. While packing up, we chatted it up with a man walking the road past our campsite. He was telling us about the campground’s wildlife, things to look for and look out for when, mid-sentence, a sizable bristle-haired javelina (a medium-sized, wild boar-like mammal) charged out of the brush and across the road behind us. Our dog barked her objection at the intrusion, inspiring the javelina to race by in a flash. I had no time to take a picture, but here is what one looks like . . .
Anyway, turns out the man we were speaking with was our camp host, and the camp host is a writer, and the writer had written a book.
“Fabulous,” I said. “What about?”
“It has to do with 9/11 and a cross-country bicycle trip I took. It’s about having hope.”
“Funny,” I said. “I’m writing a book right now that relates in part to 9/11. I used to live in New York.”
“So did I,” he said. Conversation followed of towns we both knew and a dozen other things we seemed to have in common, including something to say about 9/11 and the power to heal.
“I’d love to read your book,” I said. “And, hey, maybe some day when I’m done writing it, you could read mine.” We shared that excitement and encouragement commonly found among fellow writers and agreed to exchange business cards before Mark and I headed home.
Within minutes, Ray came back with a copy of his book as a present to us. I was blown away by his generosity.
I can’t wait to read Ray’s book, “Ray of Hope: Inspiring Peace”; something tells me I’m gonna feel good after reading it. As for you, Ray, if you’re reading this blog page, thanks for the thoughtful gift. I plan to pay it forward some day soon.
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Happy trails, y’all!