Yesterday started grey and stayed that way. Angry clouds enveloped the high peaks of the Catalina range like thick smoke, making daytime darker than it ought to be. I waited for a rainstorm that never materialized.
The cool morning breeze that typically favors Tucson originates somewhere southeast of town, but by afternoon it has shifted direction. Today is no exception. The cool breeze picks up, suddenly gusting out of the northwest. It acts as the leading edge of powerful winds that are racing toward Tucson.
Soon enough, there is much colder air creeping into the city. I retreat to my apartment, batten the hatches to hunker down for the evening with my guitar, a good book, and Lola the pup for company. Outside the wind whistles. It slams my back door as darkness descends.
Today, I wake up to more of the same, overcast and dark but still dry. I leave early for a health club where I have a month-to-month membership. Thin sunshine breaks through the clouds for a fleeting instant as I emerge from the Subaru. My false hope that today’s rain forecast might be in error vanishes as quickly. A hard rain is falling before I can make my way through the parking lot and inside the lobby to the membership desk. I am forced to hold my gym bag above my head for protection. I am thinking of poor Lola, who is stuck outside in the backyard.
Even at this early hour, the club’s indoor facilities are crowded and bustling. Walking past the locker rooms and through a hallway, I can detect above me the familiar clatter of heavy exercise equipment: the metallic clanking of the machines; the thumping of barbells landing on mats. I hear the men and women grunting and staining. I know that I can count on seeing a few folks busy reading their devices while pretending to exercise on a stationary bike, an elliptical, or a treadmill. These people won’t break a sweat. Before climbing a flight of stairs that leads to a large exercise room containing nothing but free weights, I pass by another room that is full of old folks, moving in awkward unison to an upbeat Elton John hit from our youth. I catch snatches of this music, which is still catchy!
Over the next ninety minutes, I lift free weights and use a selection of the strength machines to focus on my chest and shoulder muscles. My modest goal these days is to maintain, rather than build, muscle mass. Hoping to maintain my increasingly shaky balance, I practice standing on one foot, watching the seconds tick off a clock. For today’s cardio exercise, I mount an elliptical machine and choose a 40-minute interval program. I plan to finish off today’s workout with a few pickleball drills on one of the outdoor courts, but when I step outside it is still raining steadily, so I decide to pass.
Hurrying home, I unlock the back door for Lola, who turns circles and bounds happily about our apartment, as if to say, “nice to see you again, boss.” Surprisingly, despite the steady rain, Lola is not very wet. It wouldn’t make much difference to her, I suspect, as Lola is pure water dog. I make a mental note that If the rain lets up today, I’ll bring Lola to a park where I can let her off-leash for a vigorous puppy romp. Unfortunately, today the weather refuses to cooperate.
Hours later I step outside to see the sky before turning in for the night. It is still quite cool in terms of the temperature , and still breezy, but I at least I can see that the sky has cleared. Indeed, the night sky is full of bright stars.
This bodes well for tomorrow morning’s activities. And so it goes here in the desert.