Arizona, Gratitude and Joy, Travel

Day One – A Year of Gratitude and Joy

What an incredible Christmas! Both Greg and I went “all in” this year, spending wonderful time together, and with close and dear friends. Greg, especially, got into the Christmas spirit, embracing a decision to make things in our lives a little more “cowboy.” It came on the heels of this summer’s road trip through Nevada, California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. On Christmas morning, I unwrapped my first-ever cowboy hat, some new boots, western jewelry, and — most importantly — a handmade brochure describing the sunset horseback ride we’d be taking on Boxing Day.

My Christmas gifts had a decidedly cowboy flair this year.

I woke up this morning still remembering the stunning sunset at the end of yesterday’s ride, and an overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude. It’s a great way to wake up. It reminded me of something I tried to do many years ago. I kicked off the new year with a goal of taking at least one picture of my then young children every single day. I decided this renewed sense of joy and gratitude is a great reason to resurrect that plan. Here goes nothing: I plan to write a blog every day for a year with some sort of moment of daily joy. It will likely be a cross between a journal/diary and a blog. I can’t promise they will all be very long. But I can promise you, my readers, that I will try to write and post something happy for you every single day, starting now ..

A couple of the daily pics of my young children still sit in a tiny frame on my desk.

The sun broke through the clouds yesterday. It’s been cloudy for several days here in the desert; Christmas Eve brought us a full day of showers and, at times, pouring rain. The blue skies were a very welcome sight, the puffy clouds promising a spectacular sunset. By mid-afternoon, we’d donned our cowboy hats, jeans and boots and were ready to head to the nearby Estrella Mountains. 

With my new hat, we were ready to hit the trail.

Alex, one of the co-owners of Corral West Adventures, introduced us to the guide for our ride, Jed, who then brought over our horses “Jack” and “Rip.” Alex came over and shared a little about Rip with me … he’s good with neck reining; he is sensitive to pressure and responds easily to a little squeeze as much as light kicks; he’s a great 20-year-old horse. Within a few moments we mounted up and headed down the trail as the shadows lengthened.

Judy and Rip followed Jed around a bend as the shadows lengthened.

Jed was a fascinating guy. A fifth-generation Arizonan, he shared a little family lore with us as he pointed out the berries on a tiny cactus and mentioned, “they make great eatin’.” We chatted easily as we enjoyed panoramic views of the Valley of the Sun from the backs of our horses. 

Mountain and valley views as the sun sunk lower in the sky.

We learned that Alex and Cait would be closing up shop at the end of the season and moving on … although they didn’t say where. We will be back for a few more rides between now and May. 

A pause for a photo on the trail had us laughing.

The sunset illuminated the sky for the picture-perfect ending to the ride and we made our way to our dinner reservation, grateful for so many things.

Sunset over the Estrella Mountains.

There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. I’m going to explore it with joy and gratitude.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2021 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

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