News: Room, and a Heck of a View

At long last, a dream is coming true. I’m moving to the desert! Specifically, the SE Utah desert, but that lands me pretty close to important deserts in CO, NM, and AZ as well.

The house itself–an old manufactured home–is not much to look at. It needs a lot of work but sits on an acre and a half surrounded by farm, pasture land, and desert. Finally, enough room to grow butterfly gardens, heriloom tomatoes with names like brandywine, green zebra, and Cherokee purple, and potatoes called Yukon golds. While I work outside, I’ll enjoy views that fly away south for miles. See for yourself:

Imagine the night skies and flashfloods of stars we’ll be privy to!

Growing up in rural Virginia, I enjoyed free and frank nature play with wild animals and native plants in clean air beneath boundless skies. I have no doubt my early and intense relationship with nature helped foster the busy understory of my spiritual life and creative sensibilities.

I didn’t transplant to the West without a struggle. For one thing, the summer light here paves everything over. Not until a friend followed through on his offer to take me to the desert’s uncivilized parts did I begin to see the possibilities. The two days and two nights I spent in a canyon in southern Utah changed my life.

In Man Made of Words, Scott Momaday says, ” … the storyteller’s place within the context of his language must include both a geographical and mythic frame of reference. Within that frame of reference is the freedom of infinite possibility.”

In 1990 I lost the geographical angle of the relationship Momaday describes. The birth of a daughter who had in utero suffered severe brain damage from a viral cytomegalo infection sealed me off from the landscape that I had taken into me and that had taken me in. Besides mourning the loss of my daughter’s future as I’d imagined it, the years-long effort of helping her decide whether or not she wanted to come out to us kept me away from pilgrimages to mystical places. Yet if I hadn’t developed such a thick connection previously to place and to beauty, I might not have had the reserves needed to make it through the epic undertaking of helping my daughter emerge from the cave-in trapping her.

Since my daughter began to stabalize I’ve been able to venture off periodically, but she doesn’t take my absences well and more than half of the times I’ve gotten away I’ve either had to return early or I’ve returned home to dire circumstances precipitated by my absence. Other times I didn’t even make it beyond the trip’s planning stage. Moving down closer to my locus mundi I expect to strip away some of the peril my pilgrimages, necessary to my wellbeing, hold for her. My husband and I will be able to recover from years of stress. My two ambulatory children will be able to experience rural life along the lines I enjoyed for the first time in their lives.

Again, from Scott Momaday:

It is a great good in returning to a landscape that has had extraordinary meaning in one’s life. It happens that we return to such places in our minds incessantly. There are certain villages and towns, mountains and plains that, having seen them, walked in them, lived in them, even for a day, we keep forever in the mind’s eye. They become indispensible to our wellbeing; they define us, and we say, I am who I am because I have been there, or there. There is good, too in actual, physical return. 


I’ll be out of touch for a while as we finish packing and moving but expect to return with posts exploring such subjects as children and spirituality, the history of the LDS concept of stewardship of the earth and whether or not it needs an overhaul, and the Old Testament’s unsung hero Judah. I’m developing a series on irony and a post titled “Why Poets Need Logic.” Last but not least, I’m looking forward to finishing an essay I’m really excited about: “Joseph Smith and Nature Deficit Disorder.”

Thanks for reading my posts at A Motley Vision (and many thanks to William for inviting me aboard). It’s been a pleasure and I’m learning a lot through participating in the bloggernacle. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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