Yesterday, I went out into the desert and watched my son shoot a rocket that he had made into the clear blue winter-chilled sky. When the engine ignited, the rocket blasted into the air and then the second engine went off, separating the nose from the body. The nose drifted down under a billowed parachute and the body, designed like a glider, slowly circled the desert like a buzzard until it succumbed to gravity and spiraled into a dwarfed palo verde tree. It was a perfect start to the new year—the quiet desert landscape, clear air, clever crafts, and physical reminders of the power of gravity.
For this year, I’m launching a new zine on walking, seeking a publisher for my cartoon/verse memoir By the Forces of Gravity, starting a new book project and continuing to teach landscape design and history at ASU (as I have since 1993). This is the last year that both my kids will be teenagers, with one who’ll finish her first year of college, while the other starts high school. My husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We’ve both known each other for half our lives, most of this time as a couple. And yet, there’s always something new to discover. I love this, finding the new in the familiar. And the old. This may be a new year, but let’s face it, I’m old…older than I’ve ever been. I could live without the aches and pains, but I like being on the back nine of life. It lends a kind of urgency to not wasting time fretting about shit I don’t care about. But I’m not starting to build my own coffin out of sustainable wood yet, since this year my dad will turn 80 and he’s still running ultras. We Fishes tend to live like energizer bunnies, or Timex watches, or all those other things that just keep going and going.