Potential Peril at every Turn – Traveling the Road to Hana

A few years ago, my husband and I spent a glorious week in Maui. We had many adventures while there, both on the land and on and in the sea. I am sharing an excerpt from my 50 Life Stories collection about our Maui trip. This excerpt, from Story #32, is about traveling the (treacherous) Road to Hana. If you’ve never been, the sixty plus mile Hana Highway takes its passengers around 620 mountain curves and across 59 bridges (most are old and one-lane). 😨

Some paths are supposed to be walked on, even encouraged, and others come with a warning. Our Road to Hana tour guide, Alex, considered the, “Warning – Stay off the Path” sign a suggestion, not anything to be taken seriously. We followed Alex, passed the sign that warned us to turn around.

“Oh, that’s just there to keep tourists safe,” Alex said, as he forged ahead.

“Wait!” “What are we?”

Alex didn’t hear or chose not to respond to my question. He was either going to lead us into the adventure of a lifetime or to our deaths. As I walked past the small wooden sign, my body, like a magnet, wanted to cling to the sign, before peeling myself away from the group, and running back to the safety of the van. I am not comfortable breaking the rules when those rules come with a DANGER warning. I did not want to be the dumb tourist who makes the evening news for, well, being a dumb tourist. The type of news that is tragic for a second, then the tone quickly turning to a “they deserved it” attitude after the newscaster explains how the area was clearly marked with a warning sign. I began to search my mind for proof that Alex was a credible driver who would not lead us into harm. He had brought us this far on the “death road,” as it is often called, he was incredibly knowledgeable about the island’s history and politics, and he was hired by a tour company. Surely, some vetting took place. I assumed. But … he was extremely late picking us up. So late, he was, that we thought our Road to Hana dreams had vanished.

Alex told us that most group tours start on the north side of the island and make their way south. He, on the other hand, preferred to go against the flow and start on the southern tip of the island and then spend the day traveling north. He planned on taking us through an area that rental cars were not allowed to travel across. For those who choose ignore the signs, they were traveling at their own peril.

“See,” I whispered to John. “If you drove, we wouldn’t get to see that section.”

My husband had wanted to drive our rental Jeep, but I insisted that we go with a tour guide – someone who knew the road. Then John would be able to relax and enjoy the ride. I am not sure how relaxing it is, ever, when you are the one usually in control of the wheels. But, my husband agreed, and I was making sure he heard a convincing argument for giving up the keys that morning.

Alex began talking as soon as we entered the van and did not stop talking for the next 13 hours. I suspect Alex, was talking before we got on the bus and probably kept talking long after we exited. Alex told us about the agriculture in the area, the politics, the local history, including his own. He also told us about fatalities that occurred on the road, even detailing one high profile plunge over the side of a steep cliff, as we were driving by the exact location. The deadly location came near the end of our journey, but the information revealed was no less terrifying. He told us the story of the popular Yoga reality stars, twin sisters, who plunged over the cliff after fighting in the car. The incident left one sister dead and the other charged with second-degree murder. I did not know who he was talking about and frankly, I could have lived without learning of the tragic history of that steep cliff just beyond the curve in the road. Even though we were nearing the end of our day together, we were still traveling across a dangerous one-lane road, where at any turn, we could have faced an oncoming vehicle and our own mortality. Every time we made it safely around a blind curve, I could breathe a little easier and my praying could pause, at least momentarily.

Despite Alex’s inability to stop talking, for even five minutes, he was a wealth of information, and our day would not have been the same, or as experiential, if just the two of us had ventured out on our own. He told us about the history of the old wooden bridges that connected the curvy road fifty-nine times, and he shared the location of a hidden church, a famous burial site, movie locations, waterfalls that fed into cool swimming pools, hidden beaches, and he enticed us to try strange fruit in the yard next to the church. He had safely and calmly maneuvered us past a potentially volatile situation when we had encountered a smaller vehicle head-on when rounding one of the many blind curves.

We were several hours into our Road to Hana venture, when Alex led the way down the trail to an unmarked destination. The only mishap that had happened by that point, was a falling plate and glass. Alex had skirted a little too close to the edge of the road, when the van caught a protruding tree branch. The unforgiving road did not allow for much room on either side of the van, including room for another vehicle. The shattering plate that followed the jolting thud caused each passenger to gasp.

“It was just a plate,” a nervous and relieved voice said.

We let out a collective exhale.

Credibility and knowledge proven, why not follow Alex, the local, down the forbidden path? Alex led us into a dark cave. Magnificent. The cave was full of water. Interesting. Immediately, Alex laid his sunglasses, shoes, and keys on a rock and jumped in. He invited others to join him. Not surprising, no females from our group accepted his request, but three men did, including my husband.

“Wait! Are you serious? What are you doing?” My words floated across the musty air and trailed off, making no impact on the intended audience.  

For a tour driver who could not stop talking, he failed to talk about where they were headed, what to expect, or any other important safety tips before he led the brave, albeit dumb, group of loyal followers into the dark waters of the cave. As the men disappeared out of sight, the rest of us stood speechless and unsure of what to do next. We decided it best to scoop the many personal belongings that had been left behind in the unprotected cave, including our keys for safe passage home. Hopefully, Alex would make it out alive. I doubted an Uber driver would come to our rescue in that situation. Traveling the Road to Hana is for the adventurous thrill-seekers and not for those needing the conveniences of city life. With the belongings of others in our hands, those of us who chose not to submerge in the dark waters made our way out of the cave and down a tree-lined trail that led to a sparkling light-colored sandy beach. Paradise, except for this gnawing feeling that I might never see my husband alive again. I found a large piece of driftwood to perch myself on and waited. For how long, was yet be revealed. I sat in a spot that would give me a visual of the edge of what appeared to be where one might exit after swimming through the opening of the drowned cave, but I had no idea where they might resurface, so I sat waiting and watching. I found a credit card near my feet, with no apparent owner or bags nearby. No one came by looking for the card, while I sat vigilantly watching a possible cave exit.

Eventually the cave dwellers descended the path toward us. One of them, my husband, was not as happy to see me as I was him. He was angry that I took his flip flops, causing him to walk barefoot from the cave to the beach. I told him, we took their things, because we didn’t want to leave everything behind, and Alex was short on the specifics about their mysterious cave adventure.

Our group did some beach exploring, which included walking through a hollowed-out rock that revealed a perfectly framed ocean at the opening of the tunnel. We swam and enjoyed the sun until it was time to continue with our Road to Hana adventure.

After we were safely back in the van, Alex felt it the opportune time to tell us, “If anyone gets sick in the next couple of days, it might be from bacteria in the water, in the cave.”

“Nice of you to tell us, NOW, Alex” I said.

No one else responded or acknowledged Alex’s comment. Strange, but it wasn’t the first time my question was carried away in the tropical wind. If we survive the remainder of this ridiculous road, the adventurous trip might still get John through a tiny microbial that just entered a paper cut on his finger, while he was following fearless Alex into a dark and dank cave in Maui.

… Fortunately, their cave adventure is remembered as a highlight of the day (for my husband) instead of a news headline of the night (for the rest of us). We ended our memorable day at Ho’okipa Beach Park, watching sea turtles sleep and the sun set.

Thank you for stopping by and reading an excerpt from my Story #32. I am not sure I will travel the Road to Hana again, but I am so glad I didn’t let fear stop me. I am also grateful for our driver and tour guide, Alex. 🤟 😀 If you are facing a treacherous road, don’t quit, just find the right guide. 😏 Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

A Pointless Poet Writes While the World Waits

I am the explosion of color before the setting sun disappears.

I am the final display of magnificence before twilight descends.

My color-splashed canvas is brief – a transitory existence.

One of a kind golden photos that are easily missed.

I am an ever changing portrait that continues to unfold –

beautiful and breathtaking, I am a sight to behold.

I am both a moment in time and every story ever told.

A twisted tapestry of light and elements refined.

Everything that we wish to be, exquisitely defined.

As the invisible brush and palette blend,

an awareness washes over me –

not one of melancholy, but guided urgency.

Before the brush and palette are put away a final time

I too will live vibrantly and outwardly –

living a life that is uniquely mine.

Stop. Wait a minute. Is this really what I should be doing

on a Friday, late afternoon?

Are these meandering lines a frivolous waste of fleeting time?

Surely, they are, and this pointless poet should just walk away –

to find a greater purpose, a greater plan for her day.

Many things left undone and many thoughts left unsaid

while my fingers and metaphoric mind continue their dance.

I should quiet the lyrical melody that keeps my Dell humming and

puts me in a temporary trance.

What is the point of blending words, rhythm, and rhyme?

After all, it’s music that only I can hear, a song that is only mine.

Instead of clicking the black keys and making words appear

I should slip on gloves and to my garden, start tending.

When I am done with that chore,

I should grab the mop and start scrubbing my floor.

If I start now, I will still have time to fold socks

before preparing dinner, with fresh veggies I must chop.

Those tasks, and more, like saving the world,

have a greater purpose, a greater plan for my day.

Much greater than the frivolous lines filling up this page.

Before I save the world,

I will grab those gloves, and that mop,

but first, just a few more lines I must type.

Because, I can’t stop the words from spilling out.

So, for now I will let the melody play and the words escape.

Words that have learned how to dance

over and around the shoulds and can’ts.

And that is how this pointless poet prefers it to be,

because long after our gardens die,

our floors need replacing,

and our socks need mending,

the world will still need saving.

So poets, let the quiet melodies continue,

the spilling of words.

Because frivolous lines, like a fleeting canvas,

will endure.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my reflective poem with a playful twist. I hope that your week has had a few unexpected (and delightful) moments. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimal viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post.

50 Life Stories” update: I am writing my way through Story #41. I am so close to my goal! Maybe unrealistic, but I am pushing to finish Story 50 by Valentine’s Day. ❤️

Picture 1: View from a cabin at Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona Picture 2: Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona Picture 3: High Street Shopping Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Copyright © 2020 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Laughing with Evelyn – A New Year's Eve Story

Four days in Oregon with our daughter and her boyfriend were filled with fun, delicious food, holiday cheer, late-night board games, movies, hugs, and plenty of rain. We had to say goodbye to the two of them, but not to the rain. We returned home to a rainy Phoenix. The rare rainy day in the desert is becoming the norm this season. We welcome it, and so do my flowers. Rain or not, we look forward to saying so long to 2019 and saying hello to 2020.

In four nights, we will be ushering in 2020, dressed in 1920s style clothes at a ’20s-themed party. As I was preparing our ’20s attire for the evening, my mind wondered to thoughts of my maternal grandmother, Evelyn (Rippy) Parker. My grandmother was born in 1920 in Arkansas, nearly 100 years ago. She departed this world during her 87th year and while I miss her, I am so grateful to have many fond memories of laughing with her. Evelyn loved to tell jokes, or at least the beginning of jokes. She usually forgot the punch line, but her lapse did not hamper our laughter. She also shared stories of growing up on a farm in Arkansas, and although some of those stories took place during the depression, her stories highlighted humorous moments of her life as a farm girl. Raised as a farm girl, her true essence craved the pace of city life. She loved fashion, she loved to dance and flirt, and she loved being in the center of activity. She also loved to gamble. Perhaps I will share some of her funny farm stories on June 20, 2020 – the day before her 100th birthday. For now, I am going to share a cherished Evelyn story that took place on New Year’s Eve. The year was 1996 and I was living in Henderson, Nevada, with my husband and young daughter.

Our home was only twenty minutes from the Las Vegas strip. The distance between our community and the strip gave us just enough distance to carry on lives that weren’t focused on the lure of quick cash, but if we stood at the top of the hill in our backyard in the evening, we could see the glow of “sin city.” That glow attracted my grandmother and her gambling sidekick, my mother-in-law, Judi. The twinkling neon compelled Judi and Evelyn to leave the Sonoran Desert and travel five hours in Judi’s maroon Buick to the Mojave Desert. Sure, they came to see us, their family of three living in Nevada, but they may have been a little less motivated to make the drive if our destination did not include a night out in the Gambling Capital of the World.

Two days before the new year, our adventurous matriarchs arrived with wrapped presents and wallets that they were ready to hand over to the casinos. We visited, ate dinner, and opened gifts, then the two Arizona grandmas were ready to buckle up in the Buick and visit the street of neon lights. Those flashing lights transformed the two elders into energetic twenty-one-year-olds. On any given day, neither of those ladies were up for the task of taking long walks. My grandmother had knee and foot issues and my mother-in-law had severe scoliosis that impeded her mobility, but there was something about those lights that suspended their disabilities and their pain long enough for them to stroll across carpeted casino floors and between brightly lit casino walkways; a youthful elixir it seemed. They were the young ones ready to seek and explore. We were the old married couple. They ventured toward the strip and we put our toddler, and ourselves, to bed.    

The next morning, I was relieved to see the Buick parked in the driveway as I set out to prepare for the New Year’s Eve cheer that was to take place later that afternoon. My grandmother found me in the kitchen making breakfast. We talked about their grand adventure from the night before. We talked about the casinos they had visited and the sights on the strip. Knowing my grandmother’s interest in the male gender, I teased her about finding slot machines next to attractive men. She didn’t respond, but I did see a sparkle in her eye and a smile that revealed more than spoken words. As my grandma talked about her evening, she talked about how she hadn’t won anything, and rather than wallow in regret or self-pity, my grandmother began to laugh, and soon we were both laughing – hysterically. In between the uncontrollable laughter she said she was one of those old people who would need to eat beans for the rest of the month because she had gambled away her SS check in the first week. She elaborated her fable, describing what the rest of her month would look like because of losing too much money the night before. Each scenario of fabricated misery became more enhanced as she continued to embellish her desperate situation. As her month of misery grew more desperate our laughter escalated and echoed through the house, signaling others to find out what was so funny. Soon we were all laughing at the thought of my never-missed-a-meal grandmother living on only beans for the rest of the month.  

Evelyn, neighbor Vinny, and Judi

We poured champagne and toasted the New Year’s with our gregarious Italian neighbors, while our daughter and their two children ate smores and lit sparklers. Kept warm by our fire-pit, we laughed into the morning hours. When it was time to say “So long for now” to the Arizona-bound broke grandmas, my husband and I stood on the carport waving goodbye. Any sadness we felt about saying goodbye was quickly replaced with joy when we burst out laughing at the image of the two little ol’ ladies driving away. Where did they go? Neither of their heads were visible from behind the car. They both had disappeared into the seat and it appeared that the car was driving itself.   

I smile when I think of the two of them meeting again in heaven. They are certainly laughing and causing some playful mischief. I wish I could watch the short-haired pair disappear into the horizon just one more time. For now, I have my memories and those memories still make me laugh. I am also reminded that we are never too old to seek and explore and, most importantly, we are never too old to laugh at ourselves.

Happy New Year’s to you! I hope your evening is full of laughter and that the memories you make on New Year’s Eve will keep you laughing for years to come. Michele

Copyright © 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

'Tis the Season for Tongue in Cheek

A holiday inspired poem is what I set out to write and sarcastic wit is what transpired. The final product, as you will see, is designed in the shape of a tree. Christmas Spirit highlighted down the left side – a feeling I hope this post helps to provide.

This photo was taken in Bisbee, Arizona. Bisbee, a mining community, is located in the Mule Mountains of southeast Arizona. I call Bisbee a Christmas card town, because when approaching the town, and gazing down the mountain, the setting looks like a picturesque holiday card. If you’ve never been, it is worth the drive. The city is also becoming a vibrant art and food destination. Additional photo of Bisbee below.

Childlike  

hope and wonder  

return to us when we see

incandescent lights sparkle in the street.

Saint Nicholas in every store, where we pay to sit on his knee.

Tinsel sparkles in our eyes as we drink eggnog spiked with rum.   

Merriment at work, tacky gifts exchanged, strangers become chums.

Anticipation for that perfect gift, if not there is always a substitution.

Scrumptious sweets that plump our cheeks and usher in resolutions.

Strolling in the daylight, reveals a ten-foot reindeer flattened to a dime.

Posing in an ugly sweater that was once discarded, now ordered online.

In a quiet moment we

reflect on the season.

It’s not about Prime.

Tis about the Divine.

The Tumbleweed Christmas Tree in Chandler, Arizona (yes, it’s made out of tumbleweeds). The 30-foot tree has been a Chandler tradition since 1957. I visited the tree as a youngster and it looked like a 30-story building then.

My favorite cake to make during December is the Chocolate ‘Tato Cake. The recipe calls for potato flakes and sour cream. Sounds weird, but it is a delicious combination when mixed with chocolate. I wish I could share a piece with each of you. It is simple, sweet, and oh, so smooth. Email me at mlsefton@gmail.com if you’d like the recipe.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing some holiday humor with me. I hope your December is off to a healthy and happy start. If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to read my words and glance at my photos. For optimum viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post. Have an inspired weekend! Michele

This photo was taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, during the Las Noches De Las Luminarias event. The garden features talented musicians, 8,000 luminaria bags, glowing creatures (Wild Rising), and countless holiday lights during this festive event. Our visit included nonstop rain, but that just made the desert plants smell sweeter! Festive DBG video below. Apologies in advance for whatever video thumbnails show up after mine. My freebie Vimeo account does not let me control that. 😉

Downtown Bisbee in the evening hours. It does get cold, so bring a jacket! Excuse my cell phone photo. 🙂
My clip of Mariachi Pasion performing at the Desert Botanical Garden is too short. Need more music from these amazing ladies? More videos can be found on their site. http://www.mariachipasion.com/
Enjoy!

© 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Discovering the Great in the Outdoors

Our favorite recreational activity is spending time in the great outdoors.

Finally reaching a sweet spot, we are now primed to head out and explore.

My lover of parks and I perfecting what we pack in the car, before traveling north, south, east, or west.

Discovering barely worn trails, both near and far, is always our favored quest, and visiting an Arizona State Parks site makes us feel doubly blessed.

Our recent visits to several Arizona State Parks have been invigorating, liberating, and breathtaking, but …

I have not always experienced the great in the outdoors.

I did not enjoy camping and fishing as a kid. Especially when my dad woke us up hours before the sun to “beat the traffic.” This idea strikes me as hilarious, since the traffic that happened during my youth, was nothing compared to the never ceasing traffic we now see on our congested streets and freeways. But, for the man who loved to fish, who was still the boy from Iowa, the lake was best experienced in the calm quiet of the still morning; a stolen hour or two before other boaters caught up with him. I would rather have continued enjoying the quiet of my warm bed, but as a child my opinions were often overruled. So, frazzled and grumpy, I dragged myself into whatever truck we had at the time. Sometimes I would climb into the cabin of the truck and other times I would climb into the camper. If in the camper, my brother and I would play cards, or board games, while traveling to our lake destination, and with one unexpected bump on the highway, our cards or game pieces were scattered in the air while we were tossed around, like two exploding kernels in a hot kettle.

Other times we did not have the luxury of a cab or camper. We were just two dusty smelly crispy lake kids bouncing around in the back of our truck. I was always trying to hide from the scorching sun, usually under a blanket or anything else I could crawl under and hang onto. My brother didn’t seem to mind the heat as much as I did, but his little leathered nose paid the price for overexposure. During the days before sunblock was an outdoor staple, it seems my brother had a peeling nose that is forever captured in just about every family and elementary school picture.  

Lake Havasu State Park, near Sunset Trail

The tortuous sun is what I most despised about our camping trips. I would hide away in any shady spot I could find on our bass boat, usually under the steering wheel when my parents were fishing. Waiting desperately for any respite of shade, my young grumpy self, turned into I am bored out of my mind self. Along with hiding from the relentless rays, we were discouraged from talking while on the boat. OK, we weren’t allowed to talk – we might scare the fish away. Maybe it was a plausible scenario, that two youngsters quietly talking could chase off fish swimming depths beneath our boat and ruin our chance at a fresh fish dinner. As an adult, I now believe that my dad just wanted quiet. I suppose I understand.    

Lake Havasu State Park, near cabins

The baking sun and a boring bass boat are the two things that made me want to hide under the covers when our parents began calling us out of bed, but there were happy moments to be had on the way to and at the lake. Most of those happy moments show up as memory highlights from our family outings, versus a my favorite camping story, with a defined beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes just the four of us went to the lake, and other times we joined up with my parents’ friends, or larger groups of people during fishing tournaments.

Saguaro Lake, Maricopa County, AZ (Four Peaks, part of the Mazatzal Mountains, featured in background)

If I could splice all the happy memories together, I would end up with a camping trip that begins something like this:  With our windows down we traveled down Bush Highway that led to one of the many lakes northeast of the valley. Going up and down the curvy stretch felt more like a rollercoaster than a road. We listened to songs like, “Bye-Bye Miss American Pie” and singers like, Willie Nelson on an 8-track cassette, that my dad turned down occasionally so that he could talk on his CB Radio. Sometimes he would even let us click and speak. We said silly things like, 10-4 good buddy to truckers passing by. As we passed the green spikey sentinels standing guard several steps off the road and up the hill, my mom and I would talk about what life might have been like for the Native Americans and early settlers who lived and traversed through the region, before dams were built and lakes were created. Driving and talking until a turn in the road revealed the lake below – the crystal blue water that reflected the sky and called my parents time and time again. We found our campsite, a cove, and began the setting up camp process. My brother and I would stand idly by or entertain ourselves while my parents partnered to back the boat into the lake. One of them in the truck and the other in the boat, working together to set the boat free. With that task completed, we would find the perfect camp spot and begin unpacking necessities for the weekend:  a stove, a lantern, a tent, sleeping bags, coolers, chairs, and fishing gear. Once organized our weekend adventures began.

I remember hearing the morning melody of mourning doves and other desert birds, before unzipping my tent, and the calm lake that looked like blue glass, before jets stirred the water. I remember campfires and the stars at night; both seemed more grandiose than they do now. Although still beautiful, as an adult, fires seem smaller and the stars seem fewer.

I remember learning:  Learning to put a hook through a squirmy worm, learning to cast and reel, learning to watch for signs that fish might be biting, learning to wait quietly, learning to filet a fish with a knife I never would have been allowed to use at home, learning to read a depth-finder, learning to swim, learning to slalom ski and realizing this sport made the torturous heat and the endless waiting worthwhile, and learning to watch vigilantly when others were skiing, ready to pop up the red flag when a skier went down.

Lake Havasu, near London Bridge

I remember watching my parents cook breakfast on the camping stove. The fresh open air amplified the sound of the simmering coffee, the sizzling sausage, and the bubbling eggs. An aroma carried along by the morning breezes that would rouse the last of the sleepy campers. I remember devouring what my dad called, Poor Man’s Lobster (bite size bass boiled in water and beer, dipped in melted butter). Delicious. I remember trying Coors in a gold can for the first and last time. Disgusting.     

Although I cannot recall a favorite camping trip story, there were some standout hilarious moments that did not seem so at the time. Laughter is sometimes a delayed dish, needing time and perspective to simmer.    

Funny camping moment #1: We were camping in a cove and my parents were fishing nearby in the boat, while my brother and I were back at the campsite. I ventured off alone to use the restroom (i.e. a large tree I could hide behind). While there, minding my own, I mean, taking care of my business, I was surrounded by about half a dozen grazing cattle, who were chomping their way toward me and staring at this strange little creature crouched by a tree. Being a bit compromised, I could not move, but I could scream. That scream echoed through the canyon and was more of a distress signal than any red flare I could have fired. When my parents found me, they were out of breath from sprinting to my rescue, but they did manage to laugh after they realized the reason behind the scream.

Funny camping moment #2:  Once again, my parents were fishing in the nearby cove while my brother and I were back at the campsite. The sun had set, and we were in the camper. I was probably reading a book and my brother was probably building something or taking something apart. At least we were doing those things until noises outside the camper startled us. We jumped onto the raised mattress and terrified, we began to quietly conjecture about what might be making the skin-crawling scratching noises outside of the camper. Frozen, we looked at each other with frightened eyes, imagining what creature of the night was going to bust through the door and drag us off never to be seen again. This scene lasted a lifetime, until our parents made it back to the camper. Huddled in the top of camper, we explained that something was outside, scratching its way in. The “something” was a tree branch resting on the camper, that was moving back and forth in the wind.    

I have other funny camping moments and not so funny camping moments, but I will save those for another time.   

Did I say I hated camping and fishing as a kid? I suppose being woken up before the sun to beat the traffic and find the perfect cove wasn’t so bad.

Buckskin Mountain State Park

Thank you for stopping by and for traveling with me through a few Arizona State Parks and down memory lane. If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to follow and read my blog. For optimum viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post. Have an inspired weekend and enjoy the great outdoors! Michele

This post is dedicated to all the parents who take their kids camping, fishing, boating, hiking, and exploring in the Great Outdoors. Keep doing it, even if your kids grumble and complain. 😉

Photo of my dad doing what he loved, a few years before he passed.

© 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

Lasting Change Requires some Sweat

“Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!” ~Zora Neale Hurston

For those of us who live in Arizona during the summer months, sweat is inevitable. Just walking to our car will cause our freshly pressed clothes and styled hair to look like we dressed in the shower. We endure because we know it is temporary. Soon the cooler temperatures will be upon us and we will, once again, be able to walk to our cars, take our dogs for walks, or plan outdoor events without the risk of succumbing to a heat stroke. For those Arizona natives, like me, who have survived many hot summers in the Sonoran desert, it never gets easier, but we know we will make it through the brutal months and enjoy our autumn rewards. Having survived July, we pray for monsoon storms in August, but even they can deliver false promises. What appears to be a cool scene of refreshing rain behind windows that seal in the cool A/C, is an illusion. With one cautious step outside-BOOM-we are blasted in the face with a hot, humid blanket of air that shocks and suffocates us. So, we hustle back in and watch the warm rain fall while our electric bill surges. Then, eventually, the triple digits begin to drop, a few degrees at a time, until finally we can walk barefoot across our concrete porch without having to tend to burnt and blistered feet.

As I was reminded yesterday during a high-intensity workout class, where my sweat was ignited by a hot walk across a parking lot and then intensified by my own choice to follow a fit Zumba instructor, to what felt like my death, actions required to create lasting change are not temporary. For lasting change to shape me I need to not only expect sweat, but I need to make peace with perspiration, and know that it is the outward sign of inner discomfort, and in that discomfort transformation begins. Unfortunately, I can not sweat for a few months and then relax while I enjoy a change in temperature, in this case lasting effects to my fitness level.

I have been writing about sweat, literally. The uncomfortable sweat I experience living in Arizona during the summer months, and the sweat that covered my body after an hour workout class, but what I did not include was the 20 minute sweatfest I experienced while sitting in a dry sauna earlier in the day. Sitting in a dry sauna in the middle of an Arizona summer may be viewed as an absurd, risky choice, but here is what else I believe about sweating profusely – it reveals a body functioning properly and it can also serve as a detoxification, a cleansing. While I cannot recite the physiological stages of this detox process, I am certain about one thing: every time I push myself beyond what is comfortable and produce some “sweat” in the process, I am releasing limiting self-views and growing in the process.

Copyright © 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.