Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I went to the woods

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
Henry David Thoreau

I wrote this blog post about two months ago, when my family was still in Minnesota. It got lost in the files, as so many of my posts are.
Since writing this original post, we have made it a family goal to head to the mountains at least once a week. Sometimes we go on a hike, visit a lake, or even spend the night in a tent- but mostly we find a fire pit in the canyons and make ourselves dinner with friends and family.
We aren't doing anything too exciting, but I love it. I feel a much deeper love for Utah and it's mountains than I did 8 weeks ago. We also visited my family in Nevada (by Tahoe) and many of these pictures were taken by my dad in their mountains.  (Note: My Dad is an amazing photographer. Check out his photo blog.)  The pictures are in no order of time or subject...

A few years ago, I read someone's blog where they talked about how much they loved their childhood home in Utah. Long hikes over mountainsides covered in wild flowers, valleys filled like a cup to the brim with golden sunshine, streets lined with cherry blossoms in the spring and blooming rose bushes in the summer.
I remember thinking as I read, "But Utah is the worst. I hate it here. Doesn't everyone hate it here?"
That was the turning point for me, the time when I stopped hating Utah for the many ways it was different from my home. Obviously, it was quite the moment of revelation- since I still remember it.

I now love Utah, though I still find that I prefer the lush, flat, green landscape and wide blue skies of Minnesota to the scraggy mountains, dry heat, and crowded valleys of Salt Lake and Provo.
But I suspect that is only because Utah was not the home of my childhood.

How blessed we are to live in such a beautiful world! How amazing that there is not one perfect, preferable place that everyone in the world wants to move to- but that the beauty of the earth is as varied as the people of the earth. The places we've traveled, lived, and loved can be such an intimate part of our makeup and being- and none more so than our first remembered home.
Going to my beautiful Minnesota always makes me especially sentimental. Obviously.

I find myself feeling the mixed desires of settling down on a permanent homestead with my children- letting them run wild and free through a tangled back yard, learning with them how to coax fruits and flowers from the ground, and soaking in the richness of home- and the desire to load up a trailer and hit the road, exploring the different places, people and landscapes as far as we can drive. Marveling in the magnificence of mountains, desserts, lakes, woods, oceans, and prairies.

Unfortunately, neither of those lovely sentiments can be anything more than a daydream yet. Though, always, Travis and I are planning for the days when they'll be a reality.
And someday, mark my words, they will be a reality.

But until then, I am happy in my little house in the big mountains. I think with pleasure of the way these golden, light-filled valleys full of buzzing bees and blooming flowers will work their way into the hearts and souls of my children as the home of their youth.
It was wonderful, heartening, and fun to go visit Minnesota- but
It's really nice to be home again.

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