Thursday, April 28, 2011


I traveled to Arizona (Green Valley, south of Tucson) to be with family and to attend my grandma's memorial service. I went alone, which under normal circumstances I consider solo travel a luxury. However, this time it was a bit lonely. I missed Easter festivities and a big 5th grade band concert, and Kirk and the kids all missed the opportunity to memorialize a beloved grandma/great-grandma. We chose my solo travel plan purposefully, but really we all missed each other and I couldn't wait to get back home.

Since I was alone, I had lots of time to reflect on life, love, and what "home" means. I was away from my family. Yet, I was with my family of origin. A weird moment for sure when my brother and I found ourselves in the backseat of a car, with my parents in the front. They all agreed it was weird, too!

Once upon a time, "home" actually was Arizona for me. I was in third grade when we moved from Toledo, OH to the Phoenix area. We only lived there for a few years and I remember I loved it, I think in part because it was so different from anything I had ever known. By the end of 5th grade we moved from Phoenix to Omaha and that is where my home has been ever since.

Still, on this trip I was struck, as I always am, by how different the landscape is in Arizona. Desert. Rocks. Cacti, from prickly pears to Saguaros. Mountains. Blazing blue sky. Foreign and exotic. Beautiful and barren. Lush blooms and dust.

I had a window seat on my second flight yesterday, rising up out of Phoenix and it's red, rocky mountains. Over northern Arizona and it's forest of evergreens, over the Rockies still covered in snow, finally crossing into the plains with verdant fields and farms. Home.

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