stretching across the miles;
the emptiness of the skies.
I still recall how in my rear-view mirror, the desert highway stretched for miles, receding into the Eastern sky. As I approached city limits, the first visible landmarks were the San Francisco Peaks; Humphreys, the highest peak at 12,633 feet, looms over the otherwise level desert region of Arizona, at the edge of the Colorado Plateau. The humbler peaks complement the majesty of this mountain range, especially when snow-capped in the winter.
Now, twenty years later, the village square in historic downtown Flagstaff, reminds me of Boulder, Colorado – one of my favorite cities along my journey years ago. Since the pandemic, there has been an added dimension of rustic coziness, via the planters, and environmentally friendly receptacles for recycling downtown. Also, because restaurants have expanded their seating onto the sidewalks, and into the streets, somehow, every time I walk past Heritage Square, I am reminded of the small park in downtown Boulder, lined with shops. And, the retro-hippies, aka New Age spiritual folk, playing frisbee.
That same crowd can be found in the most popular local coffee shop, south of the tracks, right past the train station in Flagstaff. When I frequented the place more often, I would engage in conversation with those who embrace the All, I would try to find common ground for the sake of conversation, while remaining in my own integrity. Yet, even so, in reminiscence of my past engagement with new age spirituality, this can be dangerous, like treading water in a whirlpool, rapidly increasing in speed. I left that phenomenon behind me years ago, a smorgasbord of spiritual delicacies that only amounted to a collection of subjective experiences, one after the other, to entertain the soul. The last time I stopped by the coffeeshop the doors were closed. I waited in a long line at the takeout window for a cup of genmaicha tea.