The Others of Sedona
The backdrop of a starry night competed with fireside cocktail fueled conversations. In the distance loomed a familiar constellation, one I never notice at home in Phoenix. I stopped what I was saying to point it out. The Big Dipper.
My father moved to Sedona when I was eight. I spent many years being shuttled back and forth between parents, taking for granted the access I had to this red rock wonder. It was just a normal place to me. Just a home.
My father remarried and it became more than a second home, it became another family. I spent summers submerged in a rectangular, chlorine filled community pool full of adolescents — a scene straight out of the Wonder Years. It’s where I learned to play tennis. I use the word ‘learned’ generously, as I’m pretty awful despite summer lessons at the Sedona Racquet Club — a community gathering spot designed by my step-grandfather and long since lost to the scavengers of the Great Recession. Cathedral Rock was nothing more than a familiar backdrop to meandering nature walks, and Highway 89A was quiet.
It’s been years since I had a place to call home in Sedona, my father having moved to Cornville — where everyone tired of Sedona traffic has moved. Sure, I can go back anytime, but it’s not the same. It feels like it doesn’t even exist for me anymore. The congestion, the throngs of tourists, and the Airbnbs all seem to say: stay away.
Sedona exists for The Other now. Someone other than me — someone without a memory. A sideshow attraction rather than a place families call home.
It’s for people seeking high vibrations, willing to believe in the unseen powers of a vortex. Putting their faith in the swirling energy’s ability to soothe their tired souls. I mean, I guess that’s what they believe. I’m honestly not sure what a vortex is supposed to do, because they’re complete bullshit.
According to my stepmom, they were once popular drinking spots for high school kids. The kind of place she might have gone to make out with a crush. It’s funny to think people travel from around the world seeking spiritual enlightenment from spots where potentially countless teenagers lost their virginities. Not that my stepmother lost her virginity at a vortex. She’s never told me that story, but considering I lost mine out in the middle of the desert, it’s safe to say those gathering spots harbor the ghost of female sexual disappointment. Think about that the next time someone claims a vortex has feminine energy.
My favorite vortex is the airport — can you imagine? When was the last time an airport calmed you? Inspired a spiritual awakening? I flew into Sedona only once, and while I had a lovely time in a tiny plane, I wouldn’t call it enlightenment.
Sedona is the town tourism stole. Every time someone mentions it, I feel their words stab my brain. It’s like they resurrect a ghost with tales of their weekend vacations, and the memories of my past life come back to haunt me.
The way I remember it, like most things from our youth, no longer exist. Sedona isn’t a specter, Sedona is dead.
Looking up at the Cornville night sky, I felt that wide open quiet of midnight. When the sun rises, I’ll see old Sedona off in the distance. I can squint and pretend it’s still there — the home, the feelings, the memories. I might not be able to physically access it anymore, but I still have my Sedona family.
Maybe there’s a way to make money in that? A Righteous Gemstones sort of plotline. Come feel the vortex magic in our blood rub off on you. We can meditate together and offer intuitive guidance. Feeling down? Sign up for an in person cuddling workshop or buy a mini vial of our blood online. Is that even legal?
Just a thought.