I’ve run this route out our front door down Spanish Valley Road about six times.
I’ve been waking with the day, around 5:45, to pull on my shorts and my shoes and head out. I sleepily slide the iPod on and earbuds in and step out onto the peeling wooden porch. This morning, I tried listening to something different, something old, something I used to love. But Ben Kweller sounded like nothing but noise today, an irritation more than a distraction. I turned it off and went back to the playlist I’ve listened to on every solo morning run since I’ve been here.
There’s something to be said for familiarity.
We are here in this desert, and it’s beautiful. The sunshine is brighter, the air is crisper and more than anything else the landscape is spectacular. I run toward the Manti La Sals to the south. I have this idea that if I could just keep going, I’d reach them. Someday, of course, I would, but I’m training for a half, not a full, and today isn’t the day.
To the west is what I think is called the Moab Rim, which reminds me of the Bookcliffs back in Grand Junction, those searing, ridged rocks that dare you to tackle their steep rise. I climbed them once, one foot in front of the other up that steep, narrow spine. I was 23 and had no idea who I was or what I wanted. My son, my grown-up, sensitive little boy, wants to climb Moab’s version. I looked at them as we drove past, on our way to school, and had no idea where we’d even begin, if there was a trail or if we’d have to make our own or if we’d be foolish to even try that hike.
“Sure, we can, babe,” I said.
And somehow, because he wants to, we’ll figure out how to try.
To the east along the road I run is a Navajo sandstone wall, bubbly with texture. I pass horses and cows and a hodgepodge of modular homes and “ranchettes” with pickup trucks and dogs tied up in front yards.
And those La Sals loom in the background.
One of my favorite things here is the time of day when the light changes, the way the light illuminates only the tops of all these geographic wonders, in the early morning as the sun rises and in the evening, as the sun sets.
We sure don’t have views like this back home.
As I ran today, I thought about that word. Both my husband and I have referred to Omaha as home. I wonder how long we’ll say that.
I’ve been wondering when home starts to feel like where you are, instead of where you were.
How does that transition happen and can we speed it along?
What is the trick to adjusting to a new space with people you don’t know, streets you don’t recognize, routines you don’t have?
I like Moab – for the unparalleled beauty, for the desert heat, for the dry air, for the blonde horse at the house next door, for how much my husband feels connected to this land.
But it doesn’t, yet, feel like home. In the quiet space of my mind, where my truth teller sings, I miss so much about “home.” Not so much the place but the people and the routine.
My son’s former teacher e-mailed a few days ago. Many of the kids have been saying how much they miss Rye, she wrote. I had to turn my attention to something else – to stop from crying right there at my desk in my big, lonely office.
Yet, when I dropped him off at school two days ago, his new school, I smiled as I drove away because he was walking in with a friend. They were talking, and my little boy was smiling.
Change has never been easy. I can be the bravest woman in the world, game face permanently on, and still not be comfortable with everything that’s new. Even if I’m comfortable, I can still be skeptical.
Even if I’m happy (I am), even if I finally have the love I’ve always wanted (I do), even if my beautiful family is always there at the end of every day (they are), I still have that space in my heart that misses home. I miss my friends and my family.
And I long for the day – hopefully not too far off – when I feel peace here. When I feel like I’m home, not just the sense of home I already feel with my husband, but the bigger sense of the word – the all-encompassing, this-is-where-you-belong peace.
Have a great weekend, friends. Check out Ben Gibbard: