My friend Celina took a break from the frigid Chicago weather to spend the week with me in Arizona. She’s enjoying our warm temperatures so much I’ll probably have to drag her kicking and screaming to the airport today to catch her flight home. Celina and I are different in many ways. While I am edging up on 61, Celina is 34 years old. I wake before dawn and she sleeps in. I crawl to bed about the time she is ready to party. She likes to dress up; I dress down. She is fond of chunky platforms while I prefer flats or sneakers. She’s a city girl while I’ve shed that skin in favor of more rural roots. The most noticeable difference is height: she’s the size of an Olympic gymnast and I am a robust 5’8”.
As we meandered through the outdoor mall yesterday, I noticed something. Tiny Celina hauled an oversize black leather bag over her shoulder while I carried my simple, small leather wallet. I pointed this out to her and said, “You’re living large in a small body while I’m trying to live small in a large body.” We both erupted in laughter. As I looked at her, I realized the truth of what I’d said. She exudes an attitude of self confidence and puts herself out there every single day.
During my daily trek with my three dogs through the desert, that snippet of conversation floated through my brain. Celina was still buried deep in sleep while the dogs and I gloried in the sunrise. The morning light draped the mountains in a mist of gold and the cholla and palo verdes glowed with pleasure and dog fur gleamed. As I pushed my hair away from my face, I glimpsed the reflection of sunlight in the strands and it hit me: it’s all about perspective. Some folks live large by doing things: travel, theater, fine dining and concerts. I enjoy those things immensely but what fills me more is my daily walk in the desert. My aura expands and connects with the mountains, the towering saguaros, the coyotes and lizards scrabbling past, and even the stones beneath my feet. I mingle with the Earth and Sky and become one with all that is. I breathe deep and take it all in until there is no separation between the physical and spiritual realm. Dressed in my worn sneakers, dusty jeans and faded sweatshirt, I put myself out there and glow in the morning light and I know this: I, too, am living large.