May is by far my favorite month in Phoenix. The Jacaranda are full and purple. The Lady Banks Rose and Citrus Trees still smell sweet. My Tomatoes go so crazy I start to feel I won’t be able to eat them all or even give them all away. The mornings stay crisp: in the 60’s, while the afternoons peak in the high 80’s or low 90’s. It’s like living in San Diego, except we can afford it.
So it’s hard at just this moment to think about going to Africa. I wake up in my comfortable bed, snuggle the Vizslas as they wiggle their morning greetings. I go down and pour a cup of coffee and take it out into my garden to check on my beets and carrots, my peppers and squash, my petunias and snapdragons. The air feels lovely and cool. The grackles are grackling and the mourning doves give an occasional oo-OO-oo oo.
I turn over in my mind the various reactions people have had when I describe our trip. “Are you afraid?” to “It will change your life.” to “I hope you don’t lose any fingers or toes.” And sure I have my own fears. But the biggest fear is lack of comfort. I look forward to the camping. Seven nights under the stars will be lovely. But I’m most afraid of the cold temperatures and the difficulty breathing at altitude. We’ll be sleeping at over 18,000 feet.
The trip is now 5 weeks away. We have only a few more items to get from REI, a few more packing run-throughs to make sure all our gear is in order. We’ll ramp up the training, of course, with more hiking, weight-lifting, track workouts to improve anaerobic conditioning, and yoga to keep us injury free. It feels impossible that we could do anything to prepare in just 35 days that we haven’t already started.
But here’s one thing. I think above all I’ll try to learn that I carry comfort with me. That comfort is not attached to my soft bed, or my dogs, or my garden, or the temperature, or any of my things. I’ll try to learn that comfort is being happy where I am no matter the circumstances.