For the past 22 years, my daughter and I have gone to the C Lazy U Ranch, 8,350 feet up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The first year, she was just a youngster, and old enough to be in the horse-riding program. I too was a youngster – young enough – in mind, body and spirit – to learn how to ride a horse.
You can imagine the ever-expanding treasure box we’ve filled with loving memories. And the pictures… well… let’sjust say we have “oodles” – filling boxes and computer memory chips – chronicling our adventures.
This year was no different. Coming back to Atlanta and sitting down to write, I was surprised when words were quiet – there were many stories to tell. So, rather than fight with a blank screen, I called to Dakota, the 65 pound, 11 month old Australian Shepherd puppy and we went for a walk.
Midway through, my heart spoke: “The story is of home. Not the one you build, the one you live.”
My heart continued explaining once I got home and sat back down with the computer. “You see, Home is Traveling….
“… As you and Sarah, each, landed in Denver, your exhales exploded into words “We’re here!” Overflowing with excitement, you couldn’t get off the plane quickly enough – after all, hugs were waiting.
“What a delight it was to be with each other- to collect the entourage of luggage and meet up with the car. The heavens felt your giggles – happy, animated, and in full anticipation of what was to come.
“Now, as you both settled-in to the ride into the mountains, you felt them welcoming you home. How is it that they are so familiar and they take your breath away? That’s the thing about home and heart – it’s just the way it is. No explanation, needed.
“Traveling aroud the imposing peaks, through the intimate valleys and the small western towns – the cadence of the drive worked its magic. Time disappeared and the fresh, cool, scented mountain air took its place.
“You see, Home is also Settling-in…
“…. Turning onto the ranch, you wanted to careen down the road as fast you could, but something within you slowed you down so you could take it all in. The valley and mountain peaks greeted you. “Welcome home!” they whispered. You and Sarah smiled and nodded.
“By the way, Atlanta is home, too. Different. There, you move through days scheduled to the brim. It’s easy to count time – there’s always places to go and things to do. And being connected to family and friends? You do that too, in the seconds it takes to text; in the minutes of conversation; and in the hours of relaxing with friends, yoga, or long, Dakota walks.
“Now, when you’re home in Colorado, the days and life move through you. From the moment you step out of the car, dirt nonchalantly grabs your shoe. And, your sweet perfumes give way to the mountain air, punctuated with fragrant smells of well-worn leather and horses.
“It takes only a breath to surrender into this flow. Where the mornings and afternoons are filled with horses, long rides, cool forests, dusty trails, and the occasional greeting from a curious moose, a soaring hawk, or traveling families of antelope.
“You’ve noticed that friendships deepen, effortlessly. It’s magical sharing the days. Tables and and meals. Sleepy. Animated. Happy. Exhausted. Dressed ready to ride. Sweaty and covered with trail dust. Showered, dressed for dinner. It’s all here – where life meets life, unplugged.
“So, to every season, turn, turn, turn. There is a reason, turn, turn, turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven. And, now, today, remember, home is the life you live…
“….Listen – to every story. Be curious. Amazed.
“….Feel life’s presence – it’s mystery and wonders – in the extraordinary and the ordinary moments.
“…Settle-in – everywhere. Home is where your heart is. It’s that simple.”
It’s quiet, now. My fingers resting on the keyboard, I hear Dakota bouncing up the stairs.
As I turn to leave, my eyes rest on a card Sarah gave me many years back… a quote from Helen Keller…
The best and most beautiful things in this
world cannot be seen or even heard, but must
be felt with the heart
Thanks for reading!