Of all of the things I am thankful this Thanksgiving, my loved ones top the list. They are my lifeblood. Second on the list is my home. Not just the farmhouse I call “home,” but the landscape in which I live. I moved down here to farm…and to be close to the southern Utah red rock sandstone. They are both in my blood – and sometimes I get so caught up in one that I forget the other. So you’ve seen some of the family and the farm – now, here’s some of the surrounding land. Here is some of “my country.”
“My Country.” We all have places where we feel the most at home – not our physical homes (that’s a given, I hope!) – but the landscapes that are homes to our souls. For some, it’s the forest; for others, the sea, the mountains, the humid jungles, the icy north or even a big city with all its excitement and bright lights. It’s such an individual thing.
For me, the home of my soul is the desert of Utah. The red rock sandstone, the almost surreal river gorges and the animals and plants – both narrowed down to their very most essential, for that’s what it takes to survive in the desert. Being “out there” reminds me of how little, really, my soul needs to thrive. In fact, every time I go into the desert, I’m reminded of how much I need to clean out my mind and my home – the spaciousness of the huge vistas leaves me feeling open to so much – creativity, beauty and, as my little Arthur said recently, “a whole stack of love.” Unburdened. THAT’S the word I was looking for. Red desert vistas leave me feeling unburdened by anything.
So, inspired by a need to reconnect with our natural world, we packed up the little ones and headed out for the Grand Staircase Escalante area – to a lovely little hike toward Calf Creek Falls. Now, while the falls were the “stated” destination, the actual hike turned out to be the real destination. When you’re adventuring with kids, you move at their speed. If you can let go of the need to “get somewhere,” it turns out that the speed of a child is always the right one. Just slow enough to really feel the magic…
I had this feeling it would be one of the last times we were able to get out without bundling up too much this year, and they day met us with a sunny smile. Natures playground is incredible – the sandstone is out of this world – it looks almost “soft” the way it has eroded into windows, bridges and arches – the ones in Calf Creek are just child-sized – perfect for peeking in and out of.
And as a Thanksgiving time present from the world, just as we were nearing the parking lot and getting ready to head back to the farm, we were graced by a little flock of wild turkeys. How amazingly appropriate and so VERY cool!
And by way of Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of you for sharing my rural escapades – and responding as you do. What more could a farmgirl blogger want? I am so privileged
Much love, gratitude and wishing you a vacation (even if it has to be in your mind right now!) to wherever makes your spirit sing…
Great post Libbie! I can indentify- we live in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mtns. of Va. and I cant imagine living anywhere else. After travelling to the midwest this past summer I realized this- boy, its flat out there! Lovely, but flat! I hope your family has a wonderful holiday and thanks for sharing your adventures with the rest of us farmgirls!
Thank you for sharing this precious experience. One of the things you shared that most touched my heart is the realization of ‘how little, really, my soul needs to thrive’. You didn’t say ‘survive’, you said ‘thrive’. Big difference and an important realization. I recently left my beautiful home in a city where I did not ever feel at home to pursue my farmgirl dream in southeast Missouri. I do not have a home here yet. I am living in a camper on 40 beautiful acres. But, I am at HOME. My soul is thriving. I am realizing how very little one truly needs as long as the soul has a home!
Thanks for a thought provoking post! One of the things that you said…"If you can let go of the need to "get somewhere," it turns out that the speed of a child is always the right one. Just slow enough to really feel the magic…" is an awesome thought! That really makes ones’ "country" so meaningful. Blessings, Reba
Home for most of us is " where we hang our hat" and as you say, hopefully it’s a " given" that our souls can rest and thrive where ever we call home. Seeing you photos of the beautiful desert reminds me of my childhood in Nevada. I say the same thing to Shery J.(rfgblogger) every time she shares her " wide open spaces of Wyoming ".
As a child I played in the dry dirt amongst the sweet smell of sage and clean air chasing and catching lizards and horny toads and riding horses in the hills.
As young newlyweds, my husband and I learned to garden in dry clay and hard pan soil. Every shovel ( or ogger we had to rent)that pressed into the earth was an effort, but we were determined to GROW flowers, trees and shrubs in our bare suburban back yard(that had been formed by sand blasting)in the new subdivision we lived in. We’ve camped, hiked ,cross country skied and driven over and through the woods of the Sierra Mountains in every type of weather.
The dry wide open spaces of the west and the smell of a fresh pine forest will always be with me. Now I live and THRIVE near the sea in America’s hometown, Plymouth, MA. The high desert of Northern Nevada will always be in my soul and my DNA. The biggest ocean wave can’t wash away the dust or memories of the first half of my life there. I carry them with me always. After twenty plus years of visiting/living here in New England, the sea has become a part of me in the same way.. Now when I catch an ocean breeze in my hair, smell the ocean at low tide, feel the warm sand between my toes, or watch a beautiful sunset bouncing light across a flat calm bay I breathe it all in just as I did out west…
How fortunate am I to have two of Mother Natures best works engraved on my soul? I have two homes for my soul. My eyes have been opened to new beauties and experiences that I never would have experienced had we not moved here ten years ago!
I LOVE seeing your children playing in the rocks and sand! Reminds me of our two playing in the sand and climbing the big rocks on the beach!
It can be such a cleansing for the soul to go out and be "one" with nature where ever you are!
Thanks for the inspiration and photos of " your country "!
I really enjoyed your pictures. The one line that struck me is how the red rock sandstone is in your blood. It helps me understand how I was so different from my siblings. I alsways wanted to be away from the city, farming. I could not understand why. My father was the same way. Then, I went back to Mexico when I was a teenager to stay for a few months with family. My family farmed and ranched. I felt so at home, like a peace that you get when you are where you are supposed to be in life. It was then I made up my mind that I was not going to live in the city, but find my calling and find some land. Though I may only be on one acre, I love it. I get to garden and do what I love, to sew and enjoy the land I am on. It is funny how something can be in your blood like that, but it is true and it is so satisfying.
I enjoy seeing your pictures and that you share your family with us. Farm girl sisterhood at its best.