Radiogurl a la Carte

Sunday, Sept. 03, 2006
The Art of Living

We made the trip into town yesterday, did a tour of thrift stores and took MC to Staples so he could fill that particular fix. He's one of those rare men who actually LIKES to shop if you go to the right stores. When we hit thrift stores he looks at tools, electronics and books and so on, and some furniture (a throwback to his days working for an auction house.)

He is a tech-addict like me, too, so we both love places like Frys Electronics and Best Buy; but he also has a real thing for art glass and pottery, and we found a couple of places yesterday that offered him lots to see of the aforementioned. Thrift stores can occasionally yield some extraordinary finds in that regard, and so can the clearance sections at certain department stores.

MC's other weakness is books, especially computer books. He doesn't care if they're current; in fact, he really likes having the out-of-date stuff for its "nostalgic" value. I don't care, since the out of date stuff can be purchased for a song and occasionally obtained for free. Yesterday's grand expenditure - for three books and one sweater, all courtesy of the thrift-store gamut - came to less than $3.00.

On the rare instances when we go hunting for something a bit more current, we hit the bargain section at Half-Price Books and pay a maximum of $3 for a new copy of a recent publication. Unfortunately the closest store to us is in the Phoenix metro area - which is a long haul from here, too far to do a one-day turnaround drive unless it's for something more pressing (so to speak) than bargain book-hunting.

But I digress, as usual.

When we hit the thrift stores, we also hit the bookshelves for bargains. Most paperbacks run between 10 cents and a dollar; hardbacks start about 50 cents and go up to maybe a couple of bucks. We did spring for a whopping $3.00 once for an old atlas in pristine condition, and recently gave it to someone for whom it held a great deal of meaning.

That's the thing about books - they can be just a way to pass some time, or they can invoke a journey into your past, all distilled into a package that fits into the palm of your hand.

As it worked out, yesterday was also a beautiful late-summer day: not too hot, not too cool, with enough cloud cover to make the drive easy on the eyes but with enough blue sky peeking through to promise that rain wouldn't be a significant part of the bargain.

The drive itself winds along a rural highway flanked by rolling hills awash with greenery, a treat in Arizona courtesy of a longer-than-usual monsoon season. Ocotillo sprouted from hillsides, bereft of its showy fire-tinted flowers. Buffalo grass waved a greeting as we passed. Mesquite squatted low on the landscape, showing little or no reaction to the winds or the odd passing vehicles. A few tenacious century plants still rose like sentries from the low grasses, towering above the rest of the flora; but the showy butter-tinged blossoms were long gone, leaving behind just the denuded stalk with its uppermost branches.

When we crossed the old bridge, the river was still flowing merrily along, albeit in a size that argued more for the designation of "creek." As I understand it, the San Pedro is one of the few Arizona rivers that's still undammed, and because of that is also one that flows year-round. Most have become intermittent streams, raging during the rainy season and going utterly dry for the rest of the year.

This really doesn't feel like home yet. I don't know if it ever will, to be honest, but maybe a year from now I'll feel differently. Time will tell, whispering through in tides and eddies and flows, until you realize that you really have built a foundation and that the rest of the world is foreign territory.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )