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Wednesday started off well – breakfast of my usual smoothie, along with oatmeal and blueberries in a chair out by the pool, Skype call with Shawn, and then I chopped up a fresh pineapple while Evan watched.  He was all too eager to help me eat it, too!  We’ll be eating pineapple all week while I’m here.  After breakfast, we hopped in the street-legal golf cart and drove a few blocks over to Fountain Park and spent a few hours playing on the playground and hiking the Lake Overlook Trail (check out my photos!). Along the trail we met Carlos Hadaway and his sweet little Corgi dog named Bonnie.  By the time we had looped back around, the sun was high in the sky and we were all starving!  So, we headed back to the house to make some lunch.

I must say that the desert is unlike any place I’ve ever experienced.  Sure, we were on a well-groomed trail that hugs the perimeter of Fountain Hills’ man-made lake, but the trail reveals all sorts of truths about the true nature of the desert.  It is harsh and severe, completely unyielding and unforgiving.  There is no natural shade, no real escape from the intensity of the sun, no softness.  It is a vast expanse of extremity – and despite this seemingly cruel nature, there is an immense beauty here that is difficult to describe.  Light looks different here, it feels different.

One thing, though, that I’m having a hard time adjusting to is my constant thirst – I absolutely cannot drink enough water nor apply enough lotion to my hands and elbows.  Meteena said, “Just wait til the dryness hits the bottoms of your feet.”   And it’s not just that I’m not used to it – just about everyone I saw walking anywhere today had a bottle of water or some other hydrating beverage in their hands as they went.  Pumice stones are available for sale everywhere to help scrub dry skin away from heels and toes.

After lunch, we went into Scottsdale so I could rent a car for the week, and then we went to a music store called Music Masters where a young guy named Eric set me up with an acoustic that I could play for the week.  I wanted to rent a keyboard too but no dice.  I tried to pick Eric’s brain a little about open mics in the area and got a few leads.  Another music store around the corner didn’t rent keyboards either but they did tell us about a place in Phoenix that does.  By the time we got this info, though, it was 4:30 and we figured everything would be closed by the time we got to Phoenix, so we just headed back to Fountain Hills to start thinking about dinner and unwinding for the day.  On the way home, we stopped at the Scottsdale Public Library where they have Culture Passes available for checkout.  We got the pass for the Arizona Museum of Natural History.  A lot of museums and centers have free admission on certain days, so we made note of these before we left.  We’ve got a lot to fit into a week!

Home for dinner, and then after some food, I hung out with Evan and played some guitar and sang with him and read him a couple of stories.  Then, after a couple of phone calls to home to check in with Shawn and Tina, before long we were both snoozing on the couch.  And, of course, my body is still 2 hours ahead of everyone, so I was sound asleep by 8:30 p.m.  I just woke up a short while ago and it is now 2:00 a.m. MST.

Tomorrow we’re going to head up the road to Fort McDowell to check out what the reservation has in store.  All in all, though, I have to say that I really enjoyed the warmth and the sunshine and the fact that it was 81 degrees here today.  I really hope I can get some more shut-eye, too.