Where is your home?
What is the landscape of your heart?
My heart belongs to the mountains, to the Rocky Mountains of my gorgeous Colorado, from the craggy rocks to the snowy peaks. I love the thin air, although I sometimes have trouble breathing in it. I love the climate, the low humidity, the big horn sheep and the bugling elk.
My Uncle Rafa used to say that the only thing better than the Rockies were the mountains we haven’t seen yet. And when the family and I saw The Remarkables, a mountain range in New Zealand, there was a gasp of air at their absolute beauty. They were not as high or wild as the Rockies, but they looked ancient. They looked smoother, more round with age, as if they were worn down by time and wind.
I have also stood by the ocean, and breathed in deeply of its never-ending horizon. An ocean is a living thing, a constantly moving thing. While the light in the mountains changes with the weather and the time of day, the light at the ocean is independently mercurial. Each wave is different from the one that comes before it and the one after it. And the ocean sounds, that of crashing waves and the hissing they make when they withdraw, it’s hypnotizing. Or maybe I should say mesmerizing. The ocean breathes, and moves with the tides. It’s dangerous, but it deceives — you can’t judge it’s depth, the power of the currents and undertows — and it’s ferocious creatures, some of whom disguise themselves to look lovely or innocuous, but sometimes look just what they are — deadly.
Yet when I stood by the ocean, those were not the things I thought about. I thought about immortality and renewal, and the ultimate authority of water. Fire is stoppable by water, but nothing can stop water, not even rock. Rock gets eroded by it, and nothing man-made and survive the water’s ability to wear away and erode. It is the ultimate in the power of our planet. It humbles me as much as the mountains do. It makes me feel small and insignificant. But it also makes me feel awe, because those massive things, both the mountains and the oceans, are so much bigger and older than I am, that it’s almost impossible not to believe in a god who created them. Almost.
I’ve lived away from the mountains, on the plains of Iowa, and I’ve missed them, missed them terribly. So my home is here on the front range of the Rockies, where on most days I see the high, snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
But if I had to move, I wouldn’t cry if I had to live on either coast, the East or the Pacific Northwest.
However, my home, no matter whether the mountains or near the ocean, is with my husband and my children. So, it really doesn’t matter where I live, as long as I live with them. They are my heart, my true north and my true home.