2020s, Illinois, nature, photography

Road Trip to Illinois

Jim, Ruby, and I headed across the country on a road trip last week. Our camper kept us self-contained. It seemed like the best way to travel amidst restrictions without contaminating ourselves, others, and more importantly, our ailing parents. We are running out of time; the trip was necessary. Jim dropped me off in Illinois while he continued on to PA to his hometown. These times are bittersweet. Reuniting with children and meeting a new grandson kept the smiles coming while we combat the sadness of the imposing inevitable.

Map from Clarkdale, Arizona to Princeton, Illinois 61356

24 h (1,592.9 mi or 2563.52406 km) via I-40 E and US-54 E

You were my stabilizer.
No matter the path, or how far I strayed, I always knew you loved me.

 

Recycle me into a tree. Walk by and hug my trunk. Let me shade you from the sun.
I want to be that swallow that spends its day gliding over green blades fishing for worms.
Hazy sunrise with dew point at 70.

Tomorrow we drive toward the West and leave behind the humidity. We return to the dry heat. Back to responsibilities. Each mile away from the sorrow, or toward the ache like a tooth’s dry socket? Back and forth, we are in motion, back and forth until it’s time to say the long goodbye. 

2020s, adventure, Arizona, camping, family, Five Shots of..., five shots...., glamping, nature, photography

5 Shots: Camping at the Rim

1. Ponderosa Pines

There are five of us in my immediate family who see a lot of each other during this time of sequester. We went away for 24 hours to the Mogollon Rim and revisited the spot we discovered back in November. There wasn’t a soul around. Here are five plus a few extra shots of our favorite way to social distance. Which one do you like best?

2. All Alone
3. The Face of the Canyon
4. Pine Cone and Mountain Flowers
5. Running Ruby
6. Ruby pauses after exploring mud puddles.
7. Ulani Greets the Morning Sun.
8. Golden Lichen
authors, books, crime drama, In My Opinion, photography, Science Fiction, writing

IMO: Cancer & Altered Carbon

My mother has cancer. In typical fashion, the salt-of-the-earth woman is facing stage four lung cancer far better than I am. I have worried and wept since October when her back pain led to an MRI, and she lit up like a Christmas tree. Red dots punctuated her lungs, her spine, and lymph nodes. I have flown to Illinois as often as work allows to assist and be a shoulder to lean on. In the end, it is I who needed consoling. My mother would have been a great Buddhist. Her motto: “It is what it is.” 

I say, “You’re dying.” She says, “I’m living with cancer.” 

Recent rain makes the desert flowers bloom prettily. Watch your step!

I flew to Illinois to be with her last weekend. She is alone which bothers me, but she is exactly where she wants to be, in her townhouse surrounded by her favorite possessions and independent. Her routine has always been simple. Wake up at six and turn the television on for background noise. Walk the dog three times a day. Take a nap after lunch. Watch Jeopardy. Watch the news again. Eat dinner. Watch a Netflix series. Go to bed at nine. Repeat. 

I’m shocked by how therapeutic it is to try on her routine and escape my job, my responsibilities, and my hobbies. Like water lapping on the shore, she is the moon that directs the day’s rhythm. I breathe and begin to relax in her company. We buy ice cream cones and take country drives looking for eagles. We laugh at my inability to adjust to the fancy BMW I rented (I didn’t ask for one; the cheap cars were taken and it was all they could offer me.). Our bodies creak as we try to get in and out of the thing. The speed and smooth ride were like the sprinkles that covered my chocolate cone–a sweet indulgence, indeed.     

To contrast the quiet days, I downloaded Altered Carbon, season one on my phone since I heard it was great, and I like Science Fiction. Each night under my covers after Mom went to bed, I watched a couple of episodes and was impressed with the Blade Runner vibe, sophisticated worlds, and plot twists. My favorite character is Poe, who is AI and wants to be human. He provides the comic relief and is more human than anyone else in the grisly, narcissistic world of the haves and the have-nots. It is violent and for mature audiences. I’d like to read the trilogy by Richard K. Morgan for which Netflix developed the television series in 2018.  

According to Forbes contributor, Paul Tassi, season two is less exciting due to budget cuts. Who knows about season three. You can read his article about season two HERE.  All I can say is season one was highly distracting from the solemn situation facing my family. It sure beats listening to the news and panicking over the Corona Virus.  I have plunged deep into creating the rough draft of my third book in a six-part series. It takes place in World War II and two major characters are Jewish sisters who find themselves in the Philippines, 1942. It’s a safe spot to be, writing about the 20th Century while watching the futuristic setting of the twenty-fifth century.

At the end of the month, the April newsletter will be sent to those who have shared their email addresses with me. You are encouraged to join them. I’ll be sharing the research and the process of writing historical fiction. E-mail me at cbruchman@yahoo.com, and I’ll add you to the list.

Love & Friendship,

Cindy