They say the hardest things in life, the things that almost break you are what make you. 

Driving twenty miles outside Scottsdale, Arizona late August and still 100 degrees, I listened to Matthew McConaughey’s book on tape. Seconding my belief in walkabouts, my lover and I committed to two, daily around the Fountain Hills path circling one of the largest fountains in the world. 

I grew up visiting grandparents in this particular patch of Arizona, and we stayed at my father’s new home just down the street from Grandpa’s—even closer to the pool I splashed in as a kid. Stepping out only before nine am or after nine pm, and sometimes barefoot—these walks gave me time to relax. Clear my head, and figure out if it was still all worth it.

There used to be an open desert behind my Grandfather’s house, who passed the first Pandemic New Year’s, and no longer owns it. Wild hyenas would come up to the patio door with every kind of bird you could imagine, eating from my Grandmother’s feeders.

As I grew up visiting that house, it became a refuge from New York City, then L.A… I used to meditate just outside the front door—I liked the light there that time of morning and Grandpa once asked if I was praying…listening to the morning doves coo. 

The way we spotted Dad’s new street coming back from our jaunt, was finding my Grandpa’s old house at the end of the community, where I used to walk through Saguaro desert, replaced now by streets and more houses.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing, and I bet for you either. So the walking helps, giving time to notice your feet on the ground and head finally clearing. We all have our stories, something to balance we fantasize about quitting. Something breaks you, tempts you…to give it all up.

My grandfather was a real estate owner who employed a fine team and rented premier office spaces. After a few days to unwind—swim and walk and swim and walk, I smiled at the skies and started trusting. Where I am, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling… Just one big, y e s. 

And on one of those walkabouts, toward the end as I looked for his house, I saw him. Waving at me; good ole’ Grandpa, with his suspenders and smile.

I waved back, determined then—to walk on.