Oh, did I mention, they were both women of color? These women would not have been running their own businesses a few decades ago, more recently in the South, maybe even now. But here in the West, land of opportunity, they were making a go of it, and enjoying the process. And they felt comfortable, seemed to enjoy, sharing with a White man. I know this doesn’t seem remarkable to many of you, but I can remember seeing water fountains signed, “Whites Only”, and not so many years ago, “Employees Only” signs in Virginia, that were open to us, because we were White.
Claire snared a press invitations to the official opening of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Wellness Program at the posh spa Miraval in Tucson. We met Dr. Weil and had a tour of the facility with resident physician, Dr. Jim Nicolai and his nurse Sheryl Brooks. The idea is to combine the integrative medicine concepts of Dr. Weil with the exercise, stress and relaxation activities of Miraval to plot an optimal lifestyle and wellness path for clients.
Finally we waved and pushed off, our 26 inch prayer wheels spinning out thousands of goodwill messages up his mountain; but I think we might have missed the point. The farmer and his wife live Shangri-la, not just in it, but they are Shangri-la. They are poor, but well fed, and the circle of their days allows for a break when tired, a visit with passing strangers, the rhythm of weeding, or wall building when they feel like it, and the song of bird and stream as accompaniment to it all.
Claire and I looked at each other. We both had tears in our eyes. It was our twentieth anniversary, and we were witnessing the beginning of the end of a young marriage. It didn’t take words between us to know what we would do.