I recently went on a March weekend to Sedona with my friends, Val and Barb, who are like family in the best way. “How do you know each other?” a woman on our tour of the vortex valley asks. “Did you meet in college?”
“We raised our children together in the same neighborhood,” I answer. “Ah, the best friends in the world!” Her eyes sparkle in the knowing of that intimate turf mothers share; the secrets kept in a weedy circle while waiting at the bus stop. Hestia’s sacred tribe stoking the home fires.
Over iced tea and colossal salads, we pour out our most recent hilarious stories, heartaches, and triumphs; dip our feet in the Hampton Inn pool full of empty nesting plans; sip coffee under the ghostly white branches of Arizona sycamores and savor margaritas in a boisterous cantina. At the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park, the word energy is everywhere including in the red soil full of glittering crystals that sparkle on my hands. Energy is something mothers know well. According to our guide, Richard, a kind and gentle person wearing a turquoise shirt that matches his eyes, the masculine vortices offer physical healing while the feminine harness emotions. Places with masculine energy will lift you up to feel good but the feminine ones can hurt from dredging up past pain. I consider that women give birth, the most physically challenging activity a being can perform on this planet. So is juggling the impossible act of balancing work and family. Letting go is not easy for us and that is the prayer I make.
I’m at the age of rosacea and hot flashes and my fair skin turns even more pink than usual in the intense southwestern sun. A friend recently recommended this green algae face cream to combat the red and I bought some and took it on the trip. I’m wearing it the night of the UFO tour we hadn’t signed up for but happen upon as we watch a breathtaking sunset over the red rocks. The brochure we’d seen at breakfast boasts a must-see on Trip Advisor with guaranteed sightings and we’re curious to eavesdrop on how that’s even possible. We linger behind the tour as sunset becomes twilight, the sky darkening from teal with a fringe of orange over mountains and tiny trees cut out of black paper. Orion emerges, then the Big Dipper, and eventually the Pleiades in a soft glow. The UFO group has driven off in a caravan for further encounter seeking but we can see their far-off laser pointer indicating these constellations and who might be inhabiting them. Chins tilted up, we giggle at the spooky potential of each satellite and airplane. Some of them hover and change direction. Then flashes of distant light, several in one area, like the crescendo of a fireworks display, leave us in awe of such blatant wizardry. Do they use drones or balloons for these snake-oil sales? Are the ET’s in on the show, and if so, what compensation do they receive for each display? My mind circles with wonder at the human dance between belief and skepticism, welcoming naiveté and intellectual power.
Val tells me about her son being afraid of aliens when he was little. They had a code word, raspberry jelly, the same kind that she brought to me with toast in our hotel room the first morning of the trip. We reminisce about sci fi movies where aliens blend in as humans. “Christy, you’re scaring me a little,” she says. Was it my green makeup? Do we really know who we are under these mom suits?
Barb has recently left the neighborhood in Georgia where Val and I still live. She is settling into a sublime Arizona valley two hours south of Sedona where the saguaro cacti stand watchful from pyramid-like peaks. The up-close saguaros in Barb’s new neighborhood have been transplanted too. To help them survive, each giant green plant is supported by a tripod of wooden bracing around the trunk until the roots take hold in their new location. The image of three resonates and while praying to let go of my pain at the Peace Park I see that we are the tripod, supporting each other through this next mom phase, a holy trinity made of the best friends in the world.
Check out these cool UFO's by Kari Wissel at the APOTHEKARIStore on Etsy here.
I bought one of these for each of us so we can continue our encounters of the hilarious kind together, no matter how far apart we are...
"You're scaring me a little."
Do we really know who we are under these mom suits?
The Greatest World Series in History
Atlanta, November 2021...
The good news: I just published a novel of natural history set in Atlanta in 1991! The bad news: I completely forgot to include the Braves miracle season in the story. How on Earth did I miss that? Thirty years later, we experienced the same October excitement as we headed to the World Series for the first time since 1999.
In 1991, the Atlanta Braves were getting good again, so good our city watched in awe while they went from worst to first. As we cheered and tomahawk chopped on chilly October nights, the museum marketing team found a great way to advertise our city’s pride for the home team heroes. I was settling into my new position as a hired employee when the construction foreman approached our design team with a request.
“Becca’ll do it,” they said. Was this like the Babies? Another hand me down project as right of passage; I’d had enough of those already. But as the youngest and newest designer, my job was to please, and now that meant painting a giant banner to wave from the crane over the museum construction site. “Ah need you to paint a Minnesota twin bein’ eaten by a dinosaur,” the foreman instructed. I had one afternoon to create it. My figure drawing skills were being put to the test and thankfully I’d recently taken several of those classes in college. I rolled up my sleeves and sketched the design on the long, white rectangle of cloth. My mentors, (the Girls) helped me paint the stripes on the Twins’ uniforms and the not-to-scale leathery skin of the T-Rex that looked more like Barney than any terrifying lizard.
I wasn't exactly proud of the hurried result and when it appeared on the news that night, I felt embarrassed for the effort yet happy to be included on our team in support of the Braves. The Greatest World Series in history would follow...
They left that banner up until Christmas! Every time I saw it waving from the crane I wished I’d had more time to make it better. Such is the mind of an artist.
I have learned since then not to be so picky about anything that involves celebration, to share freely as Becca says in On Display, "without first tying it up in a professional bow."
Congratulations, Braves, on winning the World Series in 2021! I'm so proud of our team and our city. Well done, Atlanta!
On Display is a novel of natural history by christy baker knight. BUY THE BOOK HERE