It is the quiet one can hear. Dozens of different birds beginning their day with chirping, squawking, flapping, but all in a natural way, a sound not often heard at home.
The sprinklers click on, spraying a fine mist over the English ivy that cover parts of the yard hovering just above the side patio. The sound is not unlike a very fine rain except it ends precisely when the timer clicks off.
In 60 minutes, a handful of cars and one dump truck drive by, obeying the 25 mph limit, making their passage a gentle whoosh instead of a rumble or roar. The biggest surprise, here in a older neighborhood on the outskirts of Prescott, Arizona, is the lack of barking dogs. I have heard just one, and his bark broke the calm for just a few minutes.
I expected this neighborhood, with smaller cottages and older homes, all with trucks in the driveway and some form of vegetable garden on the side yard, to be alive with barking pets. But, not a problem. Our dog, Bailey, hears things we don't so an occasional low grumble in her throat announces a potential threat to her masters. Otherwise, sitting on one of the two side patios, by mid morning, after any commuters have left for their job, there is silence.
It has been a long time since I noticed the lack of much to hear. And, it was very welcome; just natural sounds, undisturbed by much from us humans. With very little wind, no clouds to distract the mind, I was left with my thoughts, a totally engrossing book, and the joy of a hot cup of slightly bitter, just-brewed coffee.
Betty and I were spending a week at an Airbnb about two hours north of home. Back less than a month from our European trip, we were looking for an excuse to miss some of the worst of an Arizona summer. Late June is hot, blazingly so, with no humidity and no clouds. The summer rains, if they come, won't start for several more weeks, so there is nothing to break the day-to-day sameness.
In a stroke of lucky timing, our daughter's house was undergoing 6 weeks of major kitchen and flooring renovations. Betty and I decided to head north and invited her family to enjoy a normal home environment for a week. Instead of using a refrigerator stuck in the garage, hand washing dishes on the back porch, and cooking over a grill, she and her family had a full kitchen, a working dishwasher, a big TV, and no construction mess to contend with for six glorious days.
We relished the chance to visit an area we enjoy, have some meals with friends who live here, and simply relax. We'd get up early enough to take Bailey to nearby lakes and parks, where her nose went into overtime sampling the new smells. With two back patios at the house we could move to whichever side offered the most shade or breezes.
Breakfast was coffee, tea, a danish,and yogurt in the cool backyard. Lunch and dinner choices were picked from what Trip Advisor suggested. We read a lot, watched favorite shows on Netflix, blogged, and edited photos. The pace of each day was slow, the pleasures fulfilling.
We visited three nearby lakes and ventured into the forest for a few hikes. A beautiful neighborhood pack was an oasis of green in the high desert tans of most of the area. A big band jazz concert at the Courthouse Square provided the music for hundreds of music lovers and dozens of dancers.
|Watson Lake's amazing rock formations|
|Bailey on the hunt|
All too soon, we had to pack up, leave the quiet neighborhood and cooler weather. Our regular life drew us back to the over-heated desert and our normal chores and responsibilities. But, the week-long change left us refreshed and ready to tackle what lay ahead.
Thank you, Prescott, for the memories!
The first in a series of three new booklet-length resources is now available. Preparing For Your Financial Future after Retirement is a guide to the most exciting journey of your life, the one that takes place after retirement.
Whether you are still working toward this new phase of your life, or already there, Preparing For Your Financial Future should be one of the resources you consult.