We just returned from a road trip to Tucson, Arizona, with my oldest son and his family. While there were many wonderful aspects to the trip, what I have been musing about since our trip is my response to the landscape. When I was a child I went to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree with my grandparents – and didn’t like it a bit! I found it scary and very foreign. I never felt drawn to it or expected to like it. However, on this trip, I found it mesmerizing, evocative. The barren mountains felt lunar, ancient; the open spaces serene and sacred; the mystery of flash floods in this dry country almost inconceivable. The exposure and vulnerability of the structure of the land itself was very moving to me. We were walking on Mother Earth’s bones. I was truly surprised by joy! And so grateful that my old preconceptions were able to shift, to drop away.
I don’t see myself painting a lot of cacti, dry washes, or Palo Verde trees but I am very curious about how this experience will express itself as it continues to seep into me. I hope for more of this as I age, an openness to what is right before me, to be still enough to feel it. A freedom from the narrow vision of the past. An openness to be led by curiosity rather than judgement.
What experiences have you had where you found yourself responding differently than you expected? Were you delighted or shocked? Did this open something within you to explore, change your opinion of yourself or the situation?
We’d love to hear about it!