Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

“You Mean It’s Not ‘All About Me’?”

Somehow, Brian Wilson‘s lyrics make more sense to me as I get older.  Whenever I start to monopolize a conversation, I begin to hear some of those lyrics plus some other quotes from my working days.  A couple of favorites come to mind:

“Well, I guess I should’ve kept my mouth shut when I started to brag about my car ….”

Brian Wilson, Don’t Worry, Baby


“So … that’s your take on it — is it, Bill?”

-Unnamed executive

Weed-Whackers Unite!

“Captain, there be weeds here!”

But, I guess it still doesn’t stop me from pontificating at times.  And this morning, I found myself wondering if I should’ve kept my mouth shut when I started to talk about … weed-whacking.

I love my friend, Susan.  Her husband, Mike and I can have a conversation about just about anything — including weed-whacking!

You see, here in Arizona after the monsoon season is in full swing, we take our weed-whacking a bit seriously.  Suddenly, the streets are lined with wildflowers and weeds.  And just as suddenly last week, all conversations  turned to the disposition of weeds:

My neighbor:

“Well, I’d better go borrow-back my weed-whacker from the fire station … I should really  get rid of these weeds before they go to seed.  I may be a little late already!”

Mike (anticipatory expression waning):

“Oh, you only have an electric weed-whacker?  I need to borrow a gas-powered one.”

Sears Salesman:

“Oh, you have the bump-fed electric one?  And it works for you???”

My other neighbor:

(The whirring of a powerful weed-whacker 50 yards in the distance).


Before moving to Arizona, I had no idea that there were so many choices and decisions concerning this whacking business.  I am just a simple city-boy.  To get the job done right, one must consider a number of inter-related options, including but not limited to:

  • Electric, Battery or Gasoline-Powered;
  • String Gauge;
  • Bump or automatic string feed;
  • etc, etc etc.


A Case of Whacker-Envy

I have to admit that after hearing the familiar whirring sound next door earlier this week, I had looked on the resulting absence of weeds with envy.  And, I was further humbled when I compared my neighbor’s whacker to my own.

His was clearly bigger — much bigger!  Just look at that fat red string — clearly more stout than my consumer-grade blue!  And his results were equally more handsome!

A Bit of Perspective?

All of what I have just told you,  I was sharing with Mike when Susan without solicitation and unexpectedly interjected under her breath into the conversation the quote in the title of this blog entry:

“Just listen to  what your life has come to!”

Of course, an emergency room nurse might well take that point of view with impunity, I consoled myself.

Upon Some Cogent Reflection

And  — who knows — I might think longer and deeper about the implications and merits of Susan’s observations on the state of my life … but I really need to whack my weeds before they go to seed!

‘Susan’ at Breakfast


Now, some months later, I must be an experienced [weed] whacker, because I am so confident that I cannot hesitate to volunteer to help out anywhere.  Here, three whackers survey their recent accomplishments with pride:

Weed whackers surveying their ample accomplishments

(I wish that I could say more about the boots being an Arizona fashion statement, but no need to reenforce the obvious).


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Sometimes, usually unsolicited, a friend will attempt to speed my journey to self-enlightenment:

“You live in Arizona? You must like the Desert!”

I answer,

“Well, there’s the desert, and then there’s Arizona!”

I think I know why I like aspen trees so much — they remind me of the carefree summers of youth. The silver dollar eucalyptus trees would quiver as I looked across the ravine from the back sliding window. My brother and I would play war games amongst those trees and think of all sorts of pastimes during the summer months.

I don’t get back to L.A. as much anymore to see the tall eucalyptus, but Northern Arizona has a great substitute: aspen trees! The quaking leaves and the associated wind noise calm me. So when Mike and Susan said they were going to Flagstaff to see the aspen groves, I will thrilled when the offered to let me tag along.

Although an enthusiastic people portraitist, I took the camera along anyway, hoping to see if I could capture anything close to the way that I knew I was going to feel.

North of flagstaff, we started hiking at about 9,000 ft. Passing through a dark, lush forest we came to a clearing with the San Francisco peaks in the near distance. Mike and Susan stopped to take photos. (I think they were being kind to me by finding an excuse to let me catch my breath).

Mike and Susan stop to let me rest.

We continued to hike up to the stand of yellow color in the top left of the above image. I looked up and realized why they make this trip together every year. See for yourself:


By now we had hiked far enough that Mike said,
“I wonder why we haven’t seen any other hikers in over an hour?”

We were lost, but it didn’t matter. I stood in one place, and did 90 degree turns. And without taking a step, I was able to make the following images:

Flagstaff aspens

90 degrees to the right:

And one more turn:

Hiking in Flagstaff, AZ

Realizing that we had strayed well off the trail, we decided to turn back, with an appetite for lunch and already feeling sore hindquarters. Mike turned to me and said,

“You know why I like to hike to exhaustion so much these days? It helps me to appreciate paved roads and to tolerate occasional traffic.”

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