On Arriving in Tucson, Bobcat Families, and Hope

Taken the morning we left Boston, headed to the airport.

We're here in Tucson, and have been for a week. I'm beginning (we're all beginning) to acclimate. That first day, my heavens, was so disorienting. I started the day in the heavy, vibrant, humid green of a New England summer, and it seemed like I blinked and by afternoon I was here, in the middle of the desert, and all of the Summer green was delicate and dry. It felt like my entire previous life had vanished, like I wasn't sure it had ever happened at all.

taken yesterday, on a walk. you see what i mean by contrast?
As we talked about this move, I kept having an inexplicable longing to drive here, instead of fly. We opted not to, because it would have been insane, but I think once we arrived, I knew where that longing came from: maybe if we had traversed the entire country to get here, I'd feel like our arrival made some sense. I'd have seen the physical distance mount. Instead, wham bam, goodbye East Coast and hello completely different world.

big western sky, mountains

just outside my mother-in-law's front door.
To be fair, I hadn't slept much in the days leading up to our departure (who does, right?), and I had spent the day wrestling Henrietta in airports and planes. But still, driving from the airport to my mother-in-law's house, I felt like we'd made a mistake, like if we'd been able to spend even five minutes here with the intention of transplanting, we would have known that. The landscape didn't look at all like home. I tried to be cheerful, but the feeling stayed with me while I moved our bags in and we got ready for dinner. And then, out on the back deck, three baby bobcats arrived.

They jumped up in a tree and swatted at each other from various branches. They chased each other between deck chairs and strutted their stuff around the potted plants. We watched them play and lounge while we ate dinner, and it suddenly seemed like this place was just fine. That this place was maybe even marvelous. And that we hadn't made a mistake after all.

Some of these pictures are from a few days later when their mama came too, but the truth is that I was having the same sort of feeling on the day she arrived with her babies. It seems like every time I'm discouraged or feeling displaced, they show up. She's so beautiful; they're all so beautiful. I love the markings on her legs and belly. I love the babies' little tails and pointy black and white ears. I think maybe I'm supposed to be frightened of them. My mother is worried they'll haul off Henrietta while we're not watching. But we stay on this side of the glass and make no attempts to interact with or bother them, and for some reason I'm not at all worried. Instead, I'm grateful. I think I've seen them three times, and every time they've healed an ache in me.

We have a lot to work out here. We're still very much in transition, and will be for some time. There's a lot that's uncertain, a lot I worry over. (Namely, our buyers dropped out four days before we moved, so we're still paying a mortgage. Ugg.) But I'm remembering this is what helps me whenever I move: I attach to the landscape, the new animals and plants, the beauty I've yet to grow so used to that I don't see anymore. And then I'm okay. I look up at the enormous sky and picturebook clouds and blue outlines of mountains and towering saguaro cacti, the lizards and jack rabbits and orioles and cat families out the back window, and then I'm better than okay. I'm hopeful. I'm happy. I'm here. 


belann said…
Feeling slightly better about the bobcat family after reading your post. I do hope and pray for a period of peace and happiness in the new desert home.
eden said…
i hope things keep feeling more and more comfortable for you!

i love that the cute little bobcat family helps you feel better.
Douglas said…
All I can think of is Meryl Streep saying, "The Dingos got my baby." Wishing you better luck with that. ;)
Giuli said…
I'm totally freaking out about the bobcats. Mainly because we used to have a mountain lion in our town in Pine and I constantly lived in fear that my child would chase one, or a mean old javalina. Have you seen one of those yet? Some people think javalinas are cute, but I think that their eyes are freaky. Okay, maybe baby javalina are cute, kinda. There are really beautiful things about the desert, like the clouds and really big sky, and really freaky things, like the packrats that carry the plague. I myself converted to the desert while we lived there. It took me a while though. Honestly, it was the rain that converted me. The way that the sweet dirt smells in the desert after a rain. The somewhat reminiscent greenish tint that the desert gets in the monsoon season. Prepare yourself, there isn't really a spring like you are used to. Spring is windy, but things don't really bloom extravagantly like they are doing now. I remember crying when we had our first easter egg hunt in Arizona. It was so pitiful looking with the dried grass clumps and gravel. Sigh, but Max was wearing a bandana around his neck like a bandito. New normal. Don't know if you got my email about our house, but send me a line if you are interested. Our renters are moving out at the end of the month and we are going to take a few months to fix it up and then rent it out. Love you Dej, good luck!
Bryson and Tara said…
Oh, Deja. I'm so sorry to hear that the buyers backed out. :( One stress you definitely didn't need. I hope that things work out quickly with that, and that you continue to feel more and more at home in Tucson. Those are some amazing pictures and I can't believe those bobcats are right in your in-laws' backyard. Yikes!!!

Take care, friend, and I hope that since you're much closer to Utah, that we'll be able to see you more often! :)
Amara said…
Well crap. I left a comment days ago and it didn't take I guess. I'm reading and I love you.

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