Have you ever been in a wonderful long-term relationship, but realize one day it’s time to move on?
With a new house in Florida calling my name, that’s how I feel about Tucson. When I was first planning to move here in 2006, a friend of mine sent me a postcard that said “You will love Tucson, and Tucson will love you.”
I kept that postcard propped on the U-Haul dashboard during the long, winding treacherous drive from my old home in rainy Oregon to my soon-to-be home in sunny Arizona. Those postcard words kept me from losing my cool as the U-Haul teetered and tottered, nearly tumbling sideways down the mountain. And those postcard words came true — more or less.
Sure, I’ve had a few not-so-lovely moments during my time here. My soul-mate dog Sawyer died. My dad died. I lost my newspaper job when the Tucson Citizen newspaper closed down, right after I bought a house. The real estate market crashed like five minutes later, leaving me unemployed and trapped in a house that was then worth about 22 cents.
My longtime M.O. was to run, get as far away from everything as possible. But that wasn’t possible with no job and a 22-cent house. Tucson gave me the courage to finally try my hand at my dream career as a freelance writer and artist. It worked. It continues to work, every day, more than a decade later.
Tucson is where I really got in tune with so many things. My artwork. My spirituality. My ability to create a kick-butt backyard magic garden. My recovery.
Some of the finest people I’ve met, ever, are right here in local recovery circles. Some of the other finest people I’ve meet are right here in Southern Arizona’s business referral groups. So many Tucsonans are warm, welcoming, full of talent, compassion and love.
Yes, it’s sad to go. Yet so many fond memories are coming with me. Rescuing dogs Elmo and Dini. Watching the sky turn orange like Mars at sunset. Having a giant owl hang around my yard (despite our pleas to move on so it wouldn’t eat the kittens). Watching a family of javelinas trot across Sabino Canyon Road.
Tucson is also where I met the love of my life. We first met online when he’d leave smart-aleck remarks on my Citizen stories and columns. I knew he was the man for me. He’s coming to Florida with me, along with our current dogs and a giant, green dog house that no one seems to want to buy. And I’m certainly taking the postcard that makes me smile every time I read it: “You will love Tucson, and Tucson will love you.”
Tucsonan Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist, Reiki master and dog lover who helps people get their dazzle back. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org