Today I've arrived back in Portland after spending a month traveling in the desert. My arrival has been met with a drizzle of rain and the trees around my cottage showing a new set of leaves. Every year when I watch the trees open their leaves and the conifers push out new bright green shoots I imagine each tree smiling and stretching and breathing deeply like a young child waking from a long nap.
I grew up in the high desert of Northern Sierra Nevada. For the first years of my life, as my senses were opening, I lived along the Truckee River & Lake Tahoe. I heard the river rushing below our house before I knew what a river was. I smelled the fresh cool water, Cottonwoods, Jeffery Pines, and the Chaparral. I felt what a forest felt like. I saw bright stars and I knew silence.
At the age of 6, my parents and I moved to Reno. And for the rest of my developing life, until I was 18, I got to know the desert air, the Sage Brush and Juniper. The stark subtle beauty of desert colors dotting the landscape, the wide open bright blue sky and the hot dry sun.
It takes about 3 months until I start missing the desert air and that soft hue palette. When I look in the mirror, that is what I see: Clay yellows, straw coppers, and sky blues. I always feel that much of my DNA is made up of these pieces.
You never really know what a trip has planned for you, what emotions are going to come up, the surprises people and places that meet you along the way bring. I found this trip to be utterly grounding and heart opening. I spent a lot of time with my parents: Slow, quiet evenings, that didn't revolve around any event or holiday (A rarity I find as an adult). When there is no event to be involved in, everyone becomes more present with one another, time slows down, we engage on a closer level. These are precious moments that I cherish.
I spent my trip camping in remote places, visiting my parents, visiting old friends and my favorite spots. I had very little planned so I was able to move with my thoughts, my desires, what felt right. I ended spending the month really connecting to my first home and the land that I'm made up of.
I went on long evening walks along the water. I watched the air warm everything up during the day and cool everything down at night. I had the time and space to work with some of my favorite plants and places that remind me of home