Saturday, September 13, 2008


It's been a long, long while. I don't know if anyone reads this anymore, but it has finally come time for me to debrief the trip.
I've been reading a lot, since the trip ended, about living close to the land, living off of the land, living in the rhythms of our earth. As I read the stories of a couple families who lived in this way that so many of our ancestors did, the landscapes of this past summer pass through my head, clicking from one to the next like an old-time slide show. For these images, I am grateful.
Tonight I sat at supper with my father and he mentioned the word "petroglyphs." "We saw petroglyphs!" I exclaimed. "Somewhere in the desert... Nevada, I think. Yes, it was eastern Nevada." (To avoid scandal, only Eric saw the petroglyphs, the rest of us were too lazy to venture further off our route!) And suddenly, I missed the trip.
This summer, I accepted that I am a midwestern-er. And I became proud of that fact. Through the desert, I awoke in the morning and wished I were "somewhere normal, like the midwest." Through the mountains, I wished I were in the midwest. Out east I wondered how people farmed among the hills. Wouldn't it be easier to move to the midwest, where our land is gloriously flat, I wondered. But tonight, snug in my midwest home, I became homesick for the desert. Yes, the desert.
More so, I am homesick for the feeling of dirt pressed hard against the soles of my feet, for the feeling of bedding down in a tent, breathing fresh night air. For the stars in the sky and grass that tickles my tender skin. For the days when the horizon seems so far away, and the days when the sky seems to stop short. For sand and tumbleweeds blowing through eternal open-spaces, and for crops that rise miraculously from rich soil, heeding the warmth of the sun.
Yes, I miss the trip.


1 comment:

Andie Piehl said...

Emily, I still get on here to read from time to time. I loved following your all's trip, and I'm glad you were able to rejoin the trip after your accident.
I'm one of Scot McKnight's bloggers who learned of and supported ACIRFA and the other program based on his recommendation.
Thanks for make the trip; I really enjoyed keeping track and wishing the whole time I could have gone with you, at least for some of the trip. My husband and I took up riding this year, even though we are in our late 50s, and we just love it. I can't imagine how wonderful it must have been to be young and strong and able to make the trip.
On another note, you must be an English major. LOL Whether or not, you should write more; you have a way with words. I could feel the desert based on your description.
Blessings to you.
Andie Piehl