Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Orion sits low and bright in the night sky, and the kit foxes and coyotes rummage through camp looking for leftover food at night. The sun rises over the desert mountains and sigauro cacti, signaling yet another day in the land of Leisure, where the biggest decision of the day is whether or not to empty the “shitter,” or go into town for a little sight-seeing and shopping. As I make my rounds during my morning jog, my biggest concern is whether or not rattlesnakes are milling about, or if coyotes are following me, debating whether or not I’m small enough to be prey. The dirt road stretches for miles, with rock cairns marking each individual campground. Some of the retirees who have been here for the last month have gotten elaborate with their campsite markings, using desert rocks lined up to create a designated driveway or yard for their RV. Many of the camps are lit up with Christmas lights this time of year, and several have planted flag poles from which they fly the U.S. Flag, the Canadian flag or a military flag, signaling their allegiance to one thing or another.

Today’s adventure took us into the town of Quartzite, where any foot of land that is not inhabited by a trailer is inhabited by an artist vendor of some sort. Acres of tents line the streets, hocking everything from the world’s best socks to RV parts, along with ice cream, fried foods and anything that could be useful to desert life. Today we visited the town bookstore, which housed books from all genres and eras. Enchanted with the older book section, I went in search of the shopkeeper to help me find some favorite titles I was looking for. The man, named Paul Winer, was eager to help me, and after explaining what I was looking for her instructed me to follow him to the other side of the store as he searched for what I was after. Clad in a red sweatshirt in honor of the holidays, he turned away from me and headed across the store. I fell in behind him and followed, noticing the red socks he had on, along with flip flops. As I scanned up his legs, which I thought were clad in brown pants, I realized he was not wearing any pants at all. The skin of his buttocks and thighs flapped with each step he took, and as I took a closer look the white lines of a tan line where his legs were wrinkled confirmed the fact that he was indeed not wearing any pants. He had a small rainbow thong that covered the crack of his behind, but aside from that, the sweatshirt and the socks, he was pretty much naked. I concealed my surprise quite well I think, as he bent over the book shelf in search of my requests. He had a long grey beard and when he rose up from his crouching position and faced me, I realized his package was covered only by a small piece of rainbow material. He acted as if it were the most natural thing in the world to be mostly naked in a bookstore, and produced one of the items I had sent him in search of. I thanked him and followed him to the register, where I saw a small sign I had missed on my way in that stated there was a “nudist in residence.”

As it turns out Mr. Winer is quite a respected member of the Quartzite community, having served on the city council at one time. He has owned the bookstore for nearly 20 years, and genuinely enjoys being naked. Had it not been for the unseasonably cool temperatures this year, I would have had the pleasure of seeing him in his full glory, with only a skimpy triangle of material covering his what-nots, which the locals are constantly trying to figure out how he keeps it on.

Tonight we are venturing into town to the Yacht Club, where many of the retirees gather for karaoke night, including one of our neighbors, Tom, who was a performer in Canada for many years before becoming a snowbirder. I have resisted taking a PTA bath, as its called down here, although after hiking the wilderness earlier this afternoon I’m afraid the time is quickly approaching that I will be reveling in the practice that until this point has seemed horrific…

Every evening as the sun begins to set low on the horizon, a small dot appears far away on the horizon. It’s a blimp that is used by the border patrol to search for illegal immigrants trying to make their way to a better life by sneaking across the border of Mexico and Arizona. It sits silently in the sky, watching for unsuspecting aliens who believe they can make the treacherous hike through the barren desert in search of happiness.

I got a glimpse of one of the many trials they must overcome today as we drove out into the desert, filled with cacti and…well, only cacti, on our way to Palm Canyon. The desert hills gave way to desert mountains, which we hiked up about a half of mile in search of the elusive palm trees. After hiking uphill and amongst the cacti surrounded by angry, jutting desert mountains on either side of us, the noon day sun illuminated a small slit in the rock that was filled with palm trees. They followed a crevice in the mountain from bottom to top, they pokey leaves unmistakable as they filled the whole side of the mountain.

We next hiked up Crystal Mountain, again following the saguaro cacti and bushes to the base of a mountain. As we headed up the ground was littered with shiny rocks, which I picked up believeing they were the crystals we had come looking for. As we scaled the mountain, me following the parents, who have the ability to hike up any steep terrain in the fashion of mountain goats, the sides of the trail were covered in loose rocks, amongst which were actual crystals, not just shiny white rocks of quartzite which I had been collecting along the way. Hidden in the rocks were crystals of all shapes and sizes, some of them clear and sharp, others of brownish color and bearing the straight edges of a crystal. Following the trail of crystals farther up the mountain, it wasn’t long before our pockets were full of rocks, weighing us down, but begging for us to continue up the mountain and gather more…

We returned to camp to fix dinner, enjoy a couple of beers, and experience my first PTA bath, after washing my socks out in water that was heated on the stove, and hanging them on a homemade clothesline to dry…

December 12, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun! Take lots of pictures to share when I see ya! Tell mom and dad I’ll see them in March!

    Comment by Timmy | December 19, 2010 | Reply

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