In case you were wondering, by the time we reached Ajo, my shingles were well on the road to recovery. Sitting at the airport now, I still can feel remnants of my shingles, but I have officially finished all of my anti-viral and biotic medications and am feeling a lot better. Thank God for recovery and thank God for Western medicine! As for a shingles recurrence (which I am deeply terrified of), the internet says I’m in the clear for the next 3 years at least while the virus gets out of my system. Hopefully I’ll never have to go through the Hell of Shingles again.
Now, sweet Ajo. I know we had briefly talked about Ajo before heading out to AZ, but I wasn’t really sure at all what to think pre-visiting the old mining town. Honestly, though, I was enchanted by its charm and resilience. I think it’s so beautiful that the town is attempting to revitalize through art and artists — I’ve read about city revitalization through art in places like Philly, but I’ve never seen a project like Ajo in action. I love that little town. In fact, I could see myself there some time down the line staying there as a resident artist… There truly was something so charming and inspiring about the place. Also, I could live off of the sweet potato quesadillas and prickly pear lemonade at the farmers market kitchen.
I’m currently sitting at the airport thinking over the trip, this year, the class, and everything in between. It is a strange feeling to be at the end of a chapter I, at a time, desperately wanted to be over (not the class, but this academic year). I am only a week out, and then I hit freedom (finally) again. That is a good feeling. But it is strange, too.
I remember this time four years ago at the same place in my high school experience — my junior year served as my first introduction into the idea of freedom and love, music and love, love, love love. Freedom and love. I was so excited at the prospect of college and freedom, and it’s hard to believe this period is nearly coming to a close again. When the week ends, I’ll have finished my third year at Washington and Lee, and I’ll be on the countdown to my last days here. That’s a really strange feeling. But it does feel appropriate to have finished up this year in the desert — the biome which I have always felt most free within and connected to. In reference to myself this time four years ago, I aspired to be a desert woman, and I still aspire the same. It feels also appropriate to have ended the trip in Ajo — an artist’s haven — and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument — where I could yell OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW at the top of my lungs and have it echo back to me three more times before the canyons went silent again. I love the desert. And I am glad to have seen a taste of the traditional way of life here. All I’ll say in closing after this long ramble is — as always, the desire to learn and connect more has arisen once again, and I am both grateful for all that has happened before and everything that is to come in time.