The tiny town of Patagonia, Arizona, (pop. ~980) comes as a revelation to many a snowbird flying south to sunny climes while the rest of America suffers the oxymoronic effects of global warming, such as record-breaking snows! Few locales can claim to be more welcoming: It almost seemed as if our car was surrounded the moment we pulled into town by well-wishers extending a friendly “Hello.” Jaak & I promptly received invitations to sundry interesting events: a weekly spiritual discussion group, a cappella choir, and Sunday morning hiking expeditions.
Maybe it’s no wonder—retired academics and creative folks of various stripes have settled in Patagonia for the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert, the Santa Rita and eponymous Patagonia Mountains. People here enjoy world-class bird-watching, biodiversity, and—not least of all—one another’s company.
As the ancient saying goes, “One Boomer knows another wherever they may roam.”
Not unlike new college students discovering a world created by and for their own age group, Patagonians embrace the value of community regardless of ideological slant. Whether libertarians, old-time hippies, New Agers, or devout Christians (current or former), we are all, indeed, on this leg of the journey together.
Within hours of coming to town, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to read from my essay collection, To Boldly Go, at the historic Patagonia Public Library. The popular Short Attention Span Reading Club hosted me at their meeting on February 8, 2015, having selected two of my essays for discussion. I presented a comic rendition from “Dancers in the Wheat,” took questions from the club, and enjoyed the conversation moderated by group leader Cynthia Berk.
As I remarked at the time, “It’s not often that I’m privileged to hear a discussion of my own work. So many interesting thoughts were expressed! It’s truly gratifying when people engage with one’s creativity and relate it to larger issues of social or personal concern.”
Despite its small size, Patagonia boasts several cafés, a terrific coffeehouse, art and yoga studios, a natural foods grocery, and several non-profit organizations devoted to protecting the environment. Those all make for a fine ambiance. For me, there was also a special magic, something in the fresh air, that let me put aside post-partum blues, still lingering since I finished my last novel, in order to finally start writing the next one. I can’t claim that I cranked out numerous pages…the total to date remains in low double digits…but at least progress was made and my thoughts were bent diligently in that positive direction.
After 12 weeks in residence at the Pink Adobe Casitas, I was further honored to be accepted as a local author at the Creative Spirit Gallery downtown. The gallery features work by fiber artists, painters, sculptors, authors, and others who spend at least part of each year in southeastern Arizona. I was delighted to consign several copies of my books for sale.
“I see a return to Patagonia in my future.”
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