The Sonora Desert in Arizona can be an unfriendly, foreboding place. You do not want to be lost without drinking water. In the spring scarce rain starts to fall, which is rare indeed. Arroyos creeks and rivers flood the low land, everything becomes alive overnight. Dormant frogs come to life and crawl out of the ground making a roaring sound on still nights. Cactuses start blooming multicolored flowers for birds and bees to savor. Wild poppies are in full bloom as far as the eye can see. It is a true marvel of the extremes nature can show us in a relatively short period of time.
Wild poppies as far as the eye can see in the Sonora desert near Safford Arizona.
My wife and me we’re married for close to 50 years. I’ve had a bad habit of calling myself a name after doing something dumb. It drove her wild. She would threaten to use a Willow switch on me if I didn’t stop it. I always seemed to belittle myself for doing something wrong. Now in my old age, I do things that are even dumber. My wife has gone to be with the Lord. Her physical presence is no longer here. As I grow older and become more of a klutz, I catch myself swearing at my actions more. Everything I put in my hands gets dropped. Hearing aid batteries are the worst culprit. They hit the floor multiple times as they are made ready for each ear. That still creates a verbal barrage as I swear at myself, alone here in my humble abode. Why do this just for being disappointed in myself? It now brings out an unhappy female spirit stalking about carrying a very stout shillelagh each time I start a tirade. The conflicting ties that bind. An oxymoron? It might get me to quit that bad habit under these unique circumstances.
Being disappointed in self should not bring out swear words. This got to the point I asked myself, “why do people swear?” You hear young people swearing a lot, yet they are not disappointed. There must be another triggering device. I believe human nature leads us to copy what others do. Monkey see monkey do too. If people your around swear you automatically follow their lead, so you’re accepted as one of them. If you’re in a crowd where nobody is swearing, and you still swear you stand out as the different one also. If we do enough swearing, it follows us no matter where we go. It becomes second nature.
We had an old blacksmith one time his hands and fingers always seemed to be bandaged from burning them or waking them with hammers. I don’t imagine he said “Praise the Lord” after hurting himself, but I never did hear him use the Lords name in vain. He had a sign hanging in his workshop, “Swearing shows your intelligence.” He must have been offended by swearing and the sign reminded people of that.
As a youngster growing up one of our aunts was determined to have authority over her domain and swearing. She had a bar of soap that served the purpose of cleaning up language, it only needed one application in most cases. There were no swear words said in her presence or on her property.
We grew up on a farm me and two brothers. Two of us were less than a year apart, it was rumored that mother had some anxiety trouble once. I can imagine there were many times when she felt like a mother duck trying to get a dozen duckling across the freeway.
When she took us to visit at our aunt’s house, we naturally became acquainted with the soap dish quite fast. My aunt knew the language we were listening to at home because our dad was her brother, and she had to grow up with him. Dad claimed the use of colorful adjectives was to make his point of view more clear, that it did. That is undoubtedly where the soap bar idea came from. I have decided as far as foul language is concerned, society will get back what they put into it. We are all that we accept good or bad.
As I grow older, I have come to learn life really is a race, run in different phases. We start out as helpless infants who need constant care. Before learning to speak we learn to get assistance with different cries and noises, sometimes quiet and weak at other times loud and prolonged. Our caregivers faithfully race to rescue us and supply our needs.
Through some small miracles, we reach the age of 2 years. We race in everything we do, and every place we go, racing constantly, to the echoing word “NO.”
We are learning language, and how to communicate. No is a strong starting first word very easy to hear and understand. The perfect word to start life’s race with, a warning word, no will come and go through our minds during the whole race, sometimes we will listen sometimes we won’t.
One day, usually while you’re at school puberty starts to take control of your body. You wonder what’s happening? I think something is going awry. Physical and psychological demons are fighting over my mind and body. Doubt and dread were foreign to me yesterday. You just got slam dunked into the adolescent stage of indecision and despair. Change wants to rule your mind leaving you in wonder about self. You might feel like staying in bed and hiding from the rest of the world. It, feel’s best to shut everything else out, stay in your quiet little shell. That feeling will soon pass as a young adult you continue your education or join the workforce.
Upon entering the workforce your first lesson is to be on time. From that day on don’t start out late and race to your job. It would be easier to get up early, old habits are hard to break. It seems like Friday will never come each week. Your race to work made you successful, with a wife, and children and lots of stuff. That’s what modern life is all about. You fulfilled the American dream, you have a big house, three-car garage, loving family and loads of stuff.
As you get older the body slows down. It finally becomes an all-day snail pace, a slow race to put your clothes and shoes on. Everything gets done in super slow motion, but it is still a race for the finish line. Fridays seem to be every other day, meaning the end must be near, but you can’t see, or hurry it. You know it will come for you, it’s a fact, your days are numbered but you know not how many. You continue that living race in a worn-out body, soon needing special care again. Your final hope is to be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”