Some might be wondering (in fact, even I am wondering!) why someone would come to a place named “Desert Hot Springs” when it is already hot. Who wants to soak in a hot springs when it’s ninety-six degrees hot?? My friend John got it halfway right in his comment on my last post. He writes, “Sounds like you’re looking for a place to park the rig for a while, while you take a walk on the wild side.” Only half was true. I was looking for a place to park the rig…
It’s time to go back home and check on Mom again, and the easy in and out of the little Palm Springs Airport offers the best option for timing a stop as I meander up the west coast. I need to get her restocked, refueled, and reset. There are multiple paperwork projects to oversee. A giant acreage to mow and weed-eat. Storage sheds to reconcile and condense. It can feel overwhelming, as the work never ends on the farm, especially now that my Dad is gone. Even though he was 94, he still managed a good bit of maintenance. I am finally starting to accept that I will never get “done” on my trips home. The best I can do is move things around….blades of grass, piles of paper, rooms brimming with 60 years of memories.
Mom actually conceded reluctantly to let me throw a couple of things away this time around. As a child born out of the depression generation, she clings to everything as “something I might need one day.” I, on the other hand, am still riding a four year high from having gotten rid of everything I own, including my house, with the exception of a small storage shed. So cleaning up around the farm is a bit like a game of tug-o-war, in which I rarely win. Best I can hope for is to “straighten.” But I managed to get some things accomplished, and even had time left over for a little gardening with Mom, planting a few posies in her back yard as an early Mother’s Day gift.
I’d like to say it’s getting easier being there after the loss of my brother and my Dad this past year. But it’s not. The only thing that seems to ease the pain is distraction, but there is no distraction on the Venus Farm. It embodies those members of our family who left so suddenly. The pain is still so palpable, particularly as we approach “The Anniversary.”
There were some bittersweet highlights, though. I got to spend some “quality time” with my older brother as we relived days gone by. Don is also downsizing and divesting himself of 20 years of memories. His house was “Party Central” for most of those years, complete with game room, DJ booth and custom-built (by him,) computerized, synchronized, lighted dance floor. So now, as he prepares for the sale of the home, he faces the dilemma….to remove it would mean renuilding the entire floor. To leave it means attracting a prospective buyer who has a penchant to “disco down and check out the show.”
I helped Don replace the burnt-out bulbs beneath the bullet-proof Plexiglas, kept him company while he repaired the complex woven-like wiring, and then did a few dances reminiscent of my Disco Days while he “spun” Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.” A melancholy night if there ever was one, as the “For Sale” sign is now on the front lawn
Another highlight was taking my favorite niece Hannah, out for a day of her choosing…At 14 years old, she chose the Dallas Museum of Art. 😉 We shared laughs over the modern art exhibits such as the “Potato Machine,” debated over whether blurred photographs in the rain are really “art,” and marveled at the Masters like Monet. It was a fun day. My little Hannahgram is good company.
But of course, my favorite part of the visit was the harbingers of spring themselves, the bluebonnets. The state doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for this Native Texan, but I do adore the bluebonnets. Although they were beautiful this year, and visitors with foreign dialects descended on the fields in droves, they were not as prolific as the last time I was home for the bloom back in 2012.
Interestingly enough, though, what the fields lacked in blue, they more than made up for in red this season. I have never seen so many Indian Paintbrush. Central Texas wildflower fields are typically a sea of blue punctuated by red, but it seemed to be a reversal in palette this year. The Indian paintbrush has the landscape awash with brush strokes of crimson red, with a few isolated pockets of blue…just like the state. 😉