Last night Sophie and I rolled into town after spending a week in Phoenix training with the Arizona High Performance Youth team.
Now I'm a little bit in love with Phoenix.
Also, it was an amazing experience.
Amazing to have an entire week with my daughter, amazing to watch her sail into a challenging situation and find her footing, amazing to watch these girls come together as a team.
They are off to Iowa next week for a championship tournament and this time I will hold down the fort while my husband cheers them on. Yes, it would be fun to attend but I developed a serious case of missing Izzy and Caroline while I was gone, so I'll focus on enjoying them and try not to think about missing Roger and Sophie.
What a crazy summer.
But what fun to spend a week with this girl! What a unique gift to have such an opportunity. I spent a lot of time in the gym watching the team demolish volleyballs (which appear to have hailed from Wonka's factory...did you notice?), but we also went to the movies, had yummy things to eat, cold things to drink, talked, laughed, and painted our nails. Well, I painted hers.
When it came time to drive home, she promptly fell asleep.
But I didn't mind.
I know I often say this, but there is something about the desert. Something strange and post-apocalyptic, as if whatever lives there defied all odds to do so. There are places between Phoenix and Las Vegas where the desert suddenly blossoms, becoming stranger and more exotic around every bend, with armies of cactus standing like sentinels, giant fronds waving on stalks, bleached plains stretching as far as the eye can see.
The desert bleaches me out, too. It has a way of making me feel as if I had a good cry. It calms me with its bleakness, its inability to console. Its barren soil and hardscrabble growth make me aware of the hum of being alive.
In the desert, it is enough just to be alive.
And when the sun goes down, there's no more lovely nor lonesome company than the desert to pass time with on the long road home.