Here I am at The Four Seasons, wrapped in a white, fluffy robe, drenched in L’Occitane lotion and sipping a cup of morning tea.
The cicadas are cackling, birds are singing, the morning bunny rabbits with cottontails are hopping under the desert brush. The cacti stand guard all along the Scottsdale hillside, as if on alert to make sure the morning sunshine spills up over the mountains.
It hasn’t always been this way.
Just yesterday, I was deep inside the walls of the Grand Canyon, covered in the dirt, grime, grit and remnants of 200-million year-old sand and stone caked on my dried out, cracked skin.
It’s just after 5 AM and I am wide awake in a luxurious hotel room, an oasis in the dry, cracked earth, wondering, “How did I get here?”
In my heart I know it is because of Cindie.
Less than a mile from where I sit, stands a sign. It pokes out of a desert road, lined by green golf courses and brown adobe houses.
It was the last stop on Cindie’s ride, a 40-mile bicycle ride where she came up just a few miles short.
A week ago, we drove by this spot, and stopped at this sign poking up out of the ground — an ethereal memorial to an eternal soul. “In loving memory of Cindie Davis Holub.”
Our bus packed with 27 family members stopped in silence on the side of the road as Cindie’s father explained the accident, how the garbage truck driver saw her riding in the bike lane but didn’t stop — he thought he had enough room to pass.
It’s one thing to hear a story, the account of a tragedy, the loss of love — which has played out in my head and heart, over an over, for two years since that dreadful day. It’s another to witness the space and place, to stare at it with disbelief.
Our bus moved forward then winded its way up to the parking lot of Pinnacle Peak — a rocky structure that can be seen all over Scottsdale — and Cindie’s favorite spot on Earth.
We gently began our climb, inching forward with every step, up to this sacred spot.
You can see all of Scottsdale from here. It almost appears as if you can see all of Arizona and clear over into the desert of Mexico, from high atop this rugged cliff.
I watched and listened as her father and sister, children and nephews, cousins and family stood atop this rocky mountainside and shared stories of Cindie: her childhood, her spirit, and the life she shared as a mother, sister, wife and daughter, triathlete, veterinarian, Patriot’s fan and devoted friend.
As each one opened little canisters and Cindie’s ashes drifted into the dry desert air, spreading over what seems like the top of all of creation, her sister’s words played out in my head, “This is the place Cindie loved most, it’s where she wanted to rest.”
And this is where our Grand Canyon Trip began.
Sure, we had our bags packed with the latest camping gear from EMS and REI, carabiners, Nalgene water bottles, and waterproof sunscreen in order to survive the extreme elements of our trek into the canyon.
We had everything from the checklist sent by Outdoors Unlimited.
We had Teva’s and Keen’s and Chako’s on our feet.
But as we boarded the bus, leaving Pinnacle Peak to make our way to Grand Canyon National Park, we had something even more powerful and important packed in our hearts.
So, it was, as the bus pulled away and we turned toward the sun headed for a trip of a lifetime.
I don’t know who said it first, but we all agreed. Because it’s truly fearless, and full of love. And, it was absolutely the truth.
“This one’s for Cindie.”