Moving hearts

bow-tie-arch-moan-utah-by-betsey-crawford

Bow Tie Arch, Moab, Utah

If places were men, Portland, Oregon would be the guy I met at a farmers market. We both like to hike, and read, and travel. He talks about his feelings. He recycles. It’s all very satisfying, but a bit damp. Moab, Utah would be running away with the cowboy who comes to town occasionally, never says a word, looks at me out of the corner of his eyes, and one day shows up with an extra horse so I can ride away with him. Hot, but after a while the dryness would get to you.

If home is where the heart is, then southern Utah is one of my homes. But I don’t see myself living there. Moab, the most likely candidate in practical terms, like a thriving library and access to foods I like, is indeed a cowboy town, dealing with a constant avalanche of people, tons of whom fan out into the wilderness on all-terrain vehicles instead of horses, making Moab the ATV capital of Utah. It’s a lot of hubbub, and there are only two months of the year — cold January and blistering July — when it calms down.

silver-fleabane-erigeron-argentatus-Snow-Canyon-Utah-by-Betsey-Crawford

Silver fleabane (Erigeron argentatus) Snow Canyon, Utah

For most of my life home was a physical place, a building, both shelter and oasis. Now, taking my home with me, and discovering that there are places that are home even if I have never known them, expands the idea, makes it clearer that home is resonance rather than space, however suitable and even wonderful the space is.

Take California and South Dakota, for examples. California is a place of great compatibility for me — incredible beauty, a constant avalanche of fruits and vegetables, acupuncture easier to get than a slice of (artisanal) pizza. I know and love wonderful people there. There are thirty times more wildflowers blooming there than, say, Utah. You can have desert, mountains, meadows, cities, small towns, valleys, vast lakes, ocean, all without leaving the state.

fort-pierre-national-grasslands-south-dakota-by-betsey-crawford

Fort Pierre National Grasslands, central South Dakota

But I’ve never felt in California the way I felt driving into southeastern Utah for the first time, or the way I felt one hot July day in South Dakota, when I stopped the car on a lonely road along the Native American Scenic Byway and stepped into the prairie, the sun overhead, the sky cobalt, the grasses flowing over my feet, calves, tickling my knees in the constant wind, the heat pressed against my skin, almost dizzy with the sense that this was my place on earth. That the curves of my body were part of those vast rolling hills, with their waving oceans of  green and tan grass, their endless breathing of air.

I doubt I’ll ever choose either Utah or South Dakota as a place to live permanently. But they are home, because my heart was already there, waiting for me. This is a great mystery. Many of us, including me, say casually of these experiences, ‘I must have had another life there.’ We feel that we’re walking into echoes. I have no clear vision of how our energies mix in this universe as they come in and out of the plane we call life. Perhaps we’re part of a universal consciousness, potentially making all histories and stories our own. Though, if so, why do some places, people, situations so reverberate with us, while others don’t at all? Why do I find echoes in the prairie of South Dakota and the desert of southern Utah, but not in the mountains of neighbors Montana and Colorado?

fernan-lake-coeur-d'alene-idaho-by-betsey-crawford

Fernan Lake, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

In the past, I had the old saying backwards. I made a home I loved, and put my heart there. Now I see that enduring phrase also acknowledges the heart’s ‘homing’ ability — the resonance that tells us where home is, where our heart belongs. Right now I’m at home in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, because this where my son lives, and so part of my heart is always here.

kalientoI’m privileged to be able to live this mystery, to wander from place to place, finding echoes, surprises, beauty, wildflowers, companions. It’s both mildly antic and quite wonderful to travel through the world towing chairs and forks and my favorite rug, making home wherever I feel like it, wherever I’m drawn.

But I have a lot of company on this journey, whether on wheels or not, because we’re all living in moving homes, as we carry our hearts from place to place.

Camas-lily_Tubbs-Hill_Coeur-d'Alene-Idaho_by-Betsey-Crawford-

Idaho’s camas lily (Camassia quamash)

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Marcia May 27, 2015 at 6:14 am #

    When I was considering my first move to CA I told my dad that my concern was that it was so far from home. My dad, who was a very wise and loving man, replied, “Home is wherever you are.” How true that turned out to be. The move led me to northern CA to a place that is one of my homes on the planet, and although I am no longer there, as you so beautifully described, I carry my home with me. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of that truth!

    • Betsey May 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      Thanks, Marcia. I think your journeys through various layers of home and its meaning are a very good examples of this.

  2. Carol Nicklaus May 27, 2015 at 5:19 am #

    My, but that’s gorgeous… And so “moving,” indeed. (Probably some kind of pun lives in that comment, but maybe not…) Real wit and insight, and original and profound perception. In short, so YOU! This is why you’re here, in all the places that are “here” for you: So we get to think about all this, too. Lucky us! Love it… MLAA

    • Betsey May 27, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      Love your response! Thanks, dear friend.

  3. Venus maher May 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    Your words are a gift! Thank you for stirring my heart.

    • Betsey May 27, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

      Thank you, Venus. What a lovely thought.

  4. Ann May 26, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    ❤️❤️❤️❗️

    • Betsey May 27, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

      Hearts back!