Last updated: May 03. 2014 7:18PM - 480 Views

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Dudley Wooten

PDT Outdoors Columnist

It’s March 2014 and I’m making my annual visit to Amy, Chris, and Connor in Arizona. Little Laura and I flew in yesterday. This flight was nonstop and went well from Columbus to Phoenix. We called and arranged a shuttle (cab) to get to Tucson.

The timing was such that we went to a restaurant there with our luggage and ate. From there, I tied up the loose ends of the week by phone. I arranged payment for a job we had done that week and I ordered a sprocket that had broken in my 13 inch planer. I then spoke with Dean who will be feeding the cattle in my absence. I can now relax and get down to being responsible for nothing.

Just about the time I’m ready to relax, we hooked up with the shuttle guy, Shawn. We load the luggage and set off on the 1 ½ hour trip. Shawn is well inked, nervous, on the gas, on the phone, and an hour behind another pick up. We proceed south at 90 – 100 m.p.h. As he constantly changes lanes and spends half the time on the brake and half the time with the petal to the metal.

As we converse, several things transpire. We almost rear-end a dozen people, Shawn doesn’t know this route and he recently got out of prison in Texas. Yeah, it’s time to relax now. After about a half-hour of this I’m realizing who’s in charge here and I’m thinking, “OK, Shawn, drive it like you just stole it.” This must be part of the adventure.

Part of our agenda here this trip are to see Connor’s baseball games and to see his induction into the Junior High National Honor Society, With Shawn’s blessing, I’m hoping to live to see it. The laid back trip already has me laid back in the front seat like a frozen rope holding Laura’s hand behind me trying to convince us both it’ll be alright.

In previous visits, we’ve seen the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Spring Training, Indian ruins, etc. This time I just plan to make sure we all just visit.

It’s 6 A.M. and here I sit at the Tree of Knowledge. This is a 30 foot copper sculpture at the Oro Valley Library and this is one of my rituals of the Annual Pilgrimage to be here at sunrise viewing the desert waking up.

The normal quail and lizards are here and sometimes there will be havelena or a bobcat. I’ve been very tired lately and every time I travel I wear myself out getting ready to relax. It seems like the right thing to do to just lie down on a park bench and go to sleep and wait for everything to catch up.

Well I took about a two hour nap and it seemed to fit real well, but the rest of the picture is drastically wrong.

Yes, it’s overcast and supposed to rain, but at 8:30 the sun hasn’t come over the mountain. I’ve been here way too many times to believe this is right. Could the world be coming to an end? While I’m waiting for dawn, it dawns on me. I forgot to set my watch back. Everyone is on the right schedule. No wonder 4 A.M. seemed like a good nap time. It’s really 6:30 and the sun will shine again over the Catalina Mountains. Life is good. Now I can relax.

The purple house finches, cactus wren, and mourning doves are coming to life now, so I guess all is well.

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