I was enjoying a quiet moment sitting in the shade of my favorite old tree at Catalina Park earlier this week, blissfully unaware of my surroundings until I felt a small impact ripple across the ground. Mystified, I looked behind me and a young male had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I stared at him for a second, trying to process where in the world this person could have come from. He told me that he’d been up in the tree, enjoying the beautiful day and if I was “feeling adventurous” I should try it out myself. He caught me on a laundry day in a pair of pants that have gotten a little bit tighter over the years, but I promised him I’d come see what the tree is all about when I’m wearing something stretchier. With a warm smile, he told me to have a good rest of my day in that very genuine Tucson-way that reminds me of why I love living here, and off he went.
Today, I came back to that towering (for the desert) tree. Using the gnarly old lumps dotting the trunk as footholds, I hauled myself up into the canopy and appreciated the view from 20 feet up, letting go of the stresses of four classes, two jobs and an internship for a few minutes and watching the storm clouds roll by through the tree branches. Sometimes strangers have good advice.