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When the Desert Becomes Home

I am an east coast girl who moved to California by way of Colorado almost a decade ago. One thing I have always loved is green. I love meandering forests walks and intracoastal waterways flanked by green rushes. I love green grass and green bowers of branches that turn brilliant colors about this time of year. I love green mountains and hills and alpine meadows. Green is in my bones and it’s the color that runs in the blood that flows between the memories of my childhood. I love rain and storms and humidity and the salty taste you get in your mouth if you are anywhere near the beach.

But last night I drove across the desert heading home after too many weeks away. I crested up over the pass that drives down into the Mojave, the sand spreading out as far as I could see—it’s expanse engulfing me in its enormity—and I knew I was coming home.

Home has been a complicated concept for me for years. I have been displaced by choice for some of those years—a luxury that is at times wonderful and at other times punctuated by longing. I have also been places I didn’t want to be—places that chafed against my soul in their unending propensity to almost elicit drops of blood as they rubbed against my dreams in their inability to ever fit who I am. At times I have longed to be somewhere else, thwarted in living out those annoyingly simple signs that grace the cluttered shelves of TJMaxx encouraging me to live my best self by the reality that a self is complicated and the best version is somewhere in the midst of contradictions and opposing dreams.

But after years of feeling home and not at home, the desert has welcomed me to open expanses where the sun dries out the air and gives me room to breathe. I can see the stars stretching into the space that drowns out my thoughts with its acceptance.

I know that the land is not green, but there is a secret beauty, one that rewards those who sit and watch and observe. There are hints of green and a rhythm and sunsets that take up all the space in the sky and make you forget whatever came before.


Like many of the places in my life, I suspect that this one is also one of many, but for this time being, it is my home. And I am happy.


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