I needed this trip. I needed to board a plane and for a few days sit under blue skies rather than the lingering grey of a Tennessee winter. I’ve traveled enough (and been to counseling) to know that you can’t run away from your feelings by hopping a flight bound to another hemisphere, but I also know that, sometimes, a plane ticket can be just what your soul needs to realign your perspective from whatever worries may be disorienting it. Something about looking down at the earth below from 35,000 feet up can refresh a hurting heart.
On my return to the desert, I hiked dusty trails up mountains and through vast valley expanses, walking in the sunshine and in the rain and as the wind blew cold through our jackets, over rocks and through canyons and sliding down muddy inclines, under “skies that pull you into infinity, like the ocean,” as Anne Lamott describes it. I listened to coyotes sing songs of dusk and I sat on a rock as a bobcat passed casually in front of me (!!!), and I explored a cliffside cave 2,200 feet above sprawling miles of untouched wilderness covered in cactus forests and squat underbrush. And I returned to a mountain south of the city; with Bon Iver murmuring his melancholy melody in my ears, I watched the sunset—the sun sinking below a distant range, the sky set aflame—bright orange dancing with deep blues and pinks, the mountains surrounding the city cast in a rose glow.Read More