While updating some business cards after my move to Las Cruces a few years back, the woman behind the counter noted the old Illinois address. “That’s back east. Oh, I could never live there.”
Really? Why’s that?
“I was driving through Tennessee once, on the Interstate, and you know – THERE WERE TREES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD. I couldn’t see the sky, the mountains, I couldn’t tell where we were. I hated it,” she said.
Since then I’ve met several folks who were born and raised in the southwest who agree with her. They tell me they can’t imagine living where trees and buildings block their views. Whether they lived on a ranch or in town, they grew up seeing big open skies, watching the weather move over the land, being able to see the horizon.
As a midwesterner living in southern New Mexico these past seven years, I have come to appreciate their perspective. During my first visit here in 2003 I said I could never live in the desert. Now I love it.
Because the east side of Las Cruces rests in the foothills of the Organ Mountains, my house sits higher than my neighbor to the east, affording my guests and me an unobstructed view of the western skies.
Many times, I’ve had to stop working and walk out to the back patio to watch the clouds form over the land. It’s fascinating to see the weather come in from the west. Once when my brother was visiting we watched clouds building up for most of the day before finally dumping a surprising amount of rain and hail in the area.
Or walking my dog in the morning, I can see our turn-around point a couple of miles before we arrive. All while heading toward the Organ Mountains, which are a good – I dunno – 10? 12? miles away. They’re beautiful.
At the same time, I enjoy sitting in my sister’s back yard – surrounded by 60-foot maples, oaks and evergreen trees. The grass is so green it reminds me of the Emerald Isle. Birds call to one another from the boughs and occasionally dart across the yard for a change of scenery. A breeze blows through the chimes hanging from the pergola. It’s downright lovely.
Can you appreciate the beauty in other people’s backyards or do you dislike them because they’re not like home? If you’re enjoying life, embracing differences, you’ll be happy no matter where you go.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself as I plan to leave the desert and move home.