Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Last Few Weeks: Part Deux

There's little in the world that's more important to me than my sisters.  They are my best friends, my favorite people, a constant source of fun, support and worry.  I'm the middle child, smack dab in between a sister three years older and another three years younger.  Our big sister is a rock.  She's someone I know I can count on to take care of something if I can't do it.  I can just lay whatever burden I have down at her feet and she'll handle it, no question about it, no problem.  Our little sister is our baby.  She's young and funny (she's always making me laugh) and it's been this insane privilege watching her grow into this responsible young woman who doesn't need us to baby her as much as, perhaps, we need to.

But, of course, we still do.

So when her life took an unexpected turn and she needed to move from Texas to Hawaii earlier this month, I hopped a flight over to San Antonio to take on the first leg of the trip with her.  Our route:  San Antonio, up through El Paso, stop in Albuquerque, head over to the Grand Canyon, stop a night in Lake Havasu City, drive through the endlessly boring Central Valley (I'm sorry if you're from the Central Valley, but you have to know what I mean, amiright?) and end back here in the Bay Area.  At that point, my older sister would fly in and spend a few days with us as we went sight-seeing around Big Sur, and tried to sort out sister, dog and car, then they would all take the next trip -- sans me -- back to Hawaii.

This all happened in a week.  A week of subsisting off of M&M's, Chex Mix, sodas and fast food.  A week of rest stops and driving in a straight line for hours.  A week of realizing my baby sister is all grown up.  And a week of incredible country, most of which I've never seen before.

The thing about the desert is that you think it's all the same.  You do.  I mean, it's brown, right?  Dirt and sand with small shrubbery?  That's it, isn't it?  That's what I thought until I spent so much time staring at it, and until I drove through four states' worth of desert.  As it turns out, it isn't just brown.  It's a million shades of brown and tan and red and orange and white.  It's different in Texas, in New Mexico, in Arizona and California.  And it's beautiful.  I wish I took more pictures, of the desert, the trains, the red rocks in Arizona, the hot air balloons rising above Albuquerque in the early morning light, the Sierra Nevada's.  Of everything.

And the Grand Canyon is...well, humongous.  It's wide and deep and unlike whatever I thought it was going to be in my mind.  It was one of those moments in my life where I felt small, but not in a bad way. I felt small in a kind of awestruck way that was sort of...humbling, and definitely comforting.  It reinforced for me that life is so much bigger than me and whatever I was thinking was a huge deal at the moment (i.e. the fact that I was hungry, that I had to pee, that my legs were cramped in the car, or that I was tired).  No, life is BIG.  So much bigger than me.  And I should try to live it as big is I can as well.

We also saw wolves while at the Grand Canyon.  It made my day.

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