We are missing home. We miss Jan and Rick. We miss Susan and John and Dan and Mary and the Prousties’ wicked senses of humor. We miss our friends at Monti’s and their good coffee and great cheer. We miss our morning routines and our own fridge and washer and light switches and views out our own windows. In other words, we are at the end of our stay and it’s time to go home.
However, the flight isn’t until Saturday. Boredom won’t do. The weather looked good only on Sunday. [Ed. note: the next day, Monday, was cold and damp, Tuesday it rained furiously and we got soaked going from the museum to El Gato Azul, and we woke up to furious snow on Wednesday. Sunday was the day for adventure].
So Sunday we took a hike — and found a bunch of serendipitous moments and events.
We like trails through cities, because they are different. A part of the Prescott’s Greenways Trail Systems goes along Granite and Miller creeks in downtown Prescott. The difficulty of putting together this trail is hinted at in the sign: This multiple use system, formed to follow the two creeks through the city, “is the result of dedicated trail and creek advocates, affected property owners, and city staff and elected officials.” Oh my, those must have been interesting meetings.
Like many trails in cities trying to recover their waterfronts, the Greenways is made up of lovely creek scenes, the backsides of warehouses, pleasant pathways through trees and shrubbery, derelict buildings, scrubby mucky wetlands, and rather nice public parks. It goes through streets and alleys, up a railroad trestle, into places where the trail was all but wiped out by flash floods, and past stacks of flood-scrubbed foliage debris. It was definitely the backside of Prescott. Worth seeing. We had notions about following the trail to its end at the county fairgrounds, but I pooped out early, whining about coffee and sitting. We spotted Prescott College banners across one of those monster AZ streets. We navigated it successfully, and entered the tiny but pleasant campus.
Once inside the College commons area, surrounded by encompassing buildings, we were instantly at home. It was spring break and scarcely a soul was around. The sun was warm, the environment cozy, and even the signs at the library (“Words matter. Respect them.”) warmed my heart.
The (closed) campus café and offices are on the left and the (also closed) library on the right. We sat between them, basking in the sun.
All this was fun, but not exhilarating. It was time to get lunch in town, which was surprisingly close, given how far we had walked. As I said, the creeks meander. We looked for a college art gallery, unsuccessfully, passed up a couple of eateries thinking there would be better in town, and then remembered we wanted to check out a play that the Prescott Center for the Arts was putting on. This was last day for this event — no more tickets online but suggestions that we try the box office, the art gallery, and at the door. We were hungry, but we had just time enough to make a matinée if we hustled.
The Art Center has two theaters, and we were going to Stage Too, the smaller one. The Center is located in an erstwhile Catholic Church with offices in the rectory. No obvious doors to a secondary theater. All entrances, including that of the back shed, locked tight.
We found a door to a basement gallery, which was, hallelujah, open. The guy tending the gallery said we’d find the theater if we just went to the right and down the alley, past the blue trash bin. We found the blue trash bin, but no door on the grounds except that of the shed, which we checked again. By now, I was on a Quest. We were going to find this theater!
We rounded the grounds of the church once more, stopped a young couple out front who looked at us peculiarly and shrugged. And then, finally, on another rounding of the environs, we saw a parking lot that had A) a sign claiming it was for the Art Center, B) had cars in it, and C) people getting out of one of the cars.
Theater goers are instantly recognizable as different from general tourists. These two who had just parked, pointed us down the ally, past 4 trash bins, to a fellow standing outside a set of, well, back-alley doors down and across the alley from the church. And that was the Stage Too entrance.
We pleaded our case to the person selling tickets. She fluttered and checked her hand-written form and said the play started in 15 minutes and maybe, maybe, somebodies wouldn’t show up. We waited. Play-goers came, seats got taken, everyone from the busker outside to the ushers inside were hopeful that we would get seats. The theater seated 45, so there wasn’t a lot of flexibility. It was the last day of the run, always popular. A party of 3 was still not there. It was 15 minutes, 10 minute, 7 minutes, and finally at 5 minutes to curtain, everyone triumphantly declared the seats were ours. The busker ushered us in. We felt victorious.
The play, called “Art”, was extremely well done. It’s been around a while, and although centering on arguments about whether an all-white painting is really a painting (and has color or not, meaning or not, and value or not) is actually about three old friends, having to sort out their relationships, again.
The photo below captures some of the painting, which appears and disappears throughout the show and once gets written on with a red magic marker by a curmudgeon determined to muck up the masterpiece. Luckily the marker is water-soluble.
We left the theater, hungry but delighted, feeling like we had had a good rich afternoon. Dinner at Murphy’s with cheerful Irish music and two glasses of wine capped a full Sunday. We forgot we were homesick and bored, and proved it isn’t the Inner Resources, as Henry’s Mother told him was needed for excising boredom, but rather a good town full of possibilities for walks, talks, architecture, food and theater.
We fly off to Portland on Saturday, with stories of shoveling snow and javelinas, native American wonders indoors and out, a small town with a beautiful library and welcoming smiles, and weather that caught us frowning, and fleeing to Tucson for relief. All good, all in the interest of discovering more about America, the southwest, the varieties of AZ geography, and our own limitations and breakthroughs. Also stories about chicken pot pie at Rustic Pie. See you back home, soon.