The commute: Then and now
Then: Arizona 202 to The Arizona Republic in downtown Phoenix, where I was a reporter, 8 a.m. returning at 6 p.m. Tom took the same route off-peak, 2 p.m., for his evening shift at the paper, returning at 11 p.m.
Now: Volunteering at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California, Tom and I walk from the campground to the Visitors Center on the Redwood Access Trail, a half-mile rise of nine feet through old-growth redwoods, ferns and blooming redwood sorrel, leaving at 8:45 a.m., returning at 12:45 p.m., three days a week.
Then: 45 minutes.
Now: 10 minutes.
Then: Honking horns, screeching brakes, blaring sirens.
Now: The police-whistle call of the varied thrush.
Then: Car air-conditioner at full blast, not making a dent in the 100-plus-degrees.
Now: Fleece jacket, topped with waterproof covering to ward off rain or ever-present drips.
Then: Rush hour, stop-and-go and, confession time, some yelling at other drivers.
Now: Banana slugs and snails set the pace and, confession time, whispered questions about their destination.
Then: Watching other commuters eat burritos and gulp coffee.
Now: Watching elk and black-tailed deer munch on prairie grasses.
Then: Occasional detour because of accidents.
Now: Regular detour to the Revelation Trail to ogle more old-growth.
Then: Dragging laptop, bags of take-home work, lunch and gym clothes that never got used.
Now: Carrying my coffee and knitting, for quiet moments between visitors.
Then: Arrival, email, phone messages, meetings, deadlines, break-neck pace until departure.
Now: Arrival, set up interpretive table to share amazing facts about ancient redwoods.