Friday, March 28, 2014

the in-between places.

"How much time does it take for place to seep in, for the here to quell the longing for the there?" -Rebecca Durham

Sometimes I ask how I have come to love this place, this stark, open land, sagebrush stabbed into its sandy soil, cracks and fissures splitting the earth. Coming from the rich and fertile coasts, where everything grows wild and green, where we bend to yank weeds from the ground — how did the people who came here before give that up for a place where every tendril of life must be coaxed from the earth, where the only plants are gnarled and stunted; brittle bits of life that thumb their nose at excess and fertility? Why did they stop moving and say, Here. This is the place.

There is no explaining why places like this get under our skin — not quite desert, not quite mountains, just a wild, lonely in-between. In in a time when the most hospitable places have been flattened under a sea of asphalt or privatized by the wealthy, I wonder whether these expanses appear less like wasteland and more like refuges. If our circumstances cause us to see not desolation but possibility.

I think briefly that must be so, and then I wonder again about the people who came here before. There's more to it. There's something in our soul that yearns for this.

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