Whatever minor god looks out for the welfare of casual travelers was putting in some overtime this past week. All of our flights were on time, prompt and smooth. Rental car and hotel reservations went without a hitch. Hiking trails were as advertised, parks and historic sites open and thoroughly well staffed, meals delicious. Even the weather cooperated, mild enough for cold-habituated Oregonians but warm enough to thaw chilled visitors.
And our friends! J and I (and little X!) and V and K - you know who you are! - THANK YOU!! You are pearls beyond price, your welcome, and the enjoyment we had in your company, shine like good deeds in a sorry world. From hiking to dinner, drinks to card games, you brought Tucson to us through your welcome, and we will never forget. You are all welcome to come and camp in our living room, drink all our alcohol (except the little manly man, but he is welcome to the apple juice...) and watch hockey well into the early morning hours any time you please. Consider it our responsibility for the wonderful time you showed us.
The flight last night got in late to a cold and rainy Portland, and the lights were low by the time we pulled up outside the house. The babysitters, Peeper's beloved nanny J and her spouse T, filled us in on the kids' week. And we tiptoed in to the Peep's bedroom to kiss him goodnight only to find him awake. The happy little boy voice and the soft hugs from little boy arms were perhaps as happy a homecoming as we could get...
Until this morning, when I went in to pick a sleepy little Miss out of her big girl bed. She sat up, sleepy-eyed, and looked up at me - perhaps not the most unalarming sight at 6:30 in any morning - and her face lit up in a huge smile. She spread open her arms and embraced as much of me as she could, I picked her up, and she snuggled her soft little girl hair down against my chest.
"Good morning, sweetie..." I said as I kissed her, breathing in the warm, baby girl smell of her, like vanilla and sunlight. "I'm so glad so see you again."
She looked up out of the corner of her eye.
"Daddy work done, come home. I happy." she said, huffed out a little sigh, and closed her eyes to nap against my chest, safe and content.
So as good as it was to get away,
...it's good to be home.
Update 3/16 pm: Just so you believe we were really there - and so's not to do a whole damn post of travel snaps - here's some of the best pictures, and memories, from our trip:Saguaro at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson...18th Century twisted mesquite beams in the convent close at San Xavier del Bac, la Paloma Blanco del Desierto...Even more ancient: the interior of the Great House, seven-hundred-year-old Casa Grande ruins...A sturdy little fellow points out where a bird MIGHT be if there was a bird there. Never mind. His fun and funny self, his mom, and dad were all we needed!...but you want birds? Okay! Here's a tiny Anna's Hummngbird nesting in a patio plant in Tohono Chul......and a Cactus Wren nesting in cholla at San Xavier del Bac.Vacationers at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Outstanding place.The haunting nave of the church at San José de Tumacácori, where you can feel the shades of priest and pima alike pressing down upon you from three hundred years ago......and the even more haunted ruins of the church at Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi, here with "Juan Bautista de Anza Bezerra Nieto" telling the story of Gevavi, Padre Garrucho and the 1751 "Pima Rebellion"...The stark beauty of the Sonoran desert......to better set off the elegant beauty of my love.A restful and delightful interlude. And now back to our regularly-scheduled lives...