The crackling of the fire made it hard to hear if we didn’t speak up even though we were fairly close to each other.
“You haven’t told anyone about your next book,” Karen mentioned. She had a blanket wrapped around her legs and was holding a glass of wine. Renee too (also in Al-anon) had a glass.
“That is because up until a few days ago I didn’t have any direction,” I started talking loudly over the fire, a pop and explosion of sparks rose up into the dark sky. Karen, seated next to me, put her glass down and wrapped the blanket tighter.
“You guys will be happy to know that my next project will be the sequel to ‘Confessions of the Underachiever.’” My audience exploded like the fire. They shot questions at me, but I couldn’t make sense of any of them. I stood and motioned them to quiet down.
“Father Bill is the protagonist, Mack and his family (what’s left of them) are supporting characters. In fact Father Bill will be going to Mack for counsel….”
The group started discussing this news, I got closer to the fire for warmth, it was really burning well tonight.
That night the fall air was cool…a perfect night for sitting next to the fire. We were getting settled after Karen started a roaring fire in the pit. The stars could not be seen now, so close to the flames and I had five Tiki torches burning too. None of the exterior lights to the house were on.
Fire light danced on us.
Crack! Sparks went floating toward the stars. One of my KNUT jazz shows was playing softly on our sound system. It smelled like a campfire, I loved the smell. I sat back, watching, listening and smelling.
Donna and James sat in the hot tub in the solarium; I could hear the whir of the pumps, water lapping on the sides of the tub and their voices occasionally. Ronny and Sue were seated next to the house, but near the fire pit, they were cuddling trying to stay warm. Renee, Karen and I sat directly in front of the pit. I added some wood and stoked the fire to a frenzy. We sat silently for a few moments. The pumps for the hot tub stopped and Donna and James came out with the rest of us.
It was cloudy and cool, about 55 degrees--but a nice day for a walk. He quickly went through the park to the north end where the Preserve began.
A strange feeling came over him at the base of North Mountain, like he had been here before and was returning to his roots. Compared to the mountains west of Denver, this was barely a foothill, but there was something else that he felt and couldn’t explain.
Tears welled up in his eyes. Why? He wiped them away and walked up the main trail.
Something scampered through the underbrush to his right. He couldn’t see it--probably a rabbit. Several large Saguaro’s were guarding the trail, they were much bigger than he expected. All of this vegetation was new to him. He wanted to learn as much as possible about every living thing in this desert.
The Smell! He had never taken in the aroma’s of the desert, it smelled better than home cooking!
This trail was quite rocky and hard to walk on, made even worse by the shoes that he wore. Mack didn’t care, this was heaven! The trail turned out to be a small loop, that was perfect for today though, because he didn’t want to go too far. Before he made it back to the main trail a large jack-rabbit scampered across his path about 30 feet ahead. This creature was over twice as big as the rabbits he saw in Colorado, with big floppy ears that nearly touched the ground. It made its’ way up a mound to Mack’s left and attempted to hide behind a small rock. Mack could still see it and after a few seconds it made its’ way over the ridge and out of sight. He stood motionless for a few more minutes, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the desert.
This section of the Preserve was around 1700 acres, with many trails and different areas to explore.