It is green here. So very green. I marvel at the layers and layers of emerald, chartreuse, lime, avocado, dark forest, bright apple. My eyes trace the landscape, delighted by the many forgotten shades that exist in the natural world.

I am weary of the desert by now.  My eyes grow too accustomed to the monochromatic blandness of the endless brown-beige-tan that forms the southwestern tableau. I am not meant for there, never have been. I’m an ocean mermaid, a deep forest nymph, a barefoot country girl.Too many months surrounded by cactus and tumbleweed and creosote and miles upon miles of pavement and I begin to forget who I am.

My first morning I step outside; my eyes wide open. I breathe deep and remember what the desert tries to lull me into forgetting. There are parts of the world where trees grow thick, and deep forests surround and blankets of grass grows without assistance. Life pulses here, deep below the earth and right on the surface.  I hear it on the wind, and smell it in the air and I feel it thriving in the ground beneath my feet.

The girls lean out the window on the first day, and they breathe deep as well. “It smells good here, Mama.  So good”.  Not exhaust fumes and valley smog and the thick scent of heat rising off asphalt. Just clean air, and soft earth, and the smell of thriving life.  They are happy. I am too.

These summers are a gift to them, my city girlies. A reminder that the world is bigger and wider than they sometimes realize in the safe little dead-end cul de sac that shelters so many of their hours.  It is a lesson in roots, and history and family. In the places they come from and the potential of the many places they may go.  Both adventure and simplicity packaged neatly into one six week trip.

And in giving to them, of course I receive. My soul knows this place, in the deep way our souls know the places that hold us by means deeper than rent or mortgage or job location. Year after year, this place finds me unchanged. It nestles my weary heart in the curve of country roads and lifts my spirit until I soar on the open wings of Atlantic seabirds. It coaxes me out of spaces tinged by insecurity or fear or scarcity and reminds me that I am always more than enough.

I am home. I am happy. I am blessed.


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