It’s hard to believe that just yesterday I was in the reddish-brown desert of the southwest, and that today I basked on the beach in the sub-tropics of Florida. I never cease to be amazed by the speediness of airplanes – not to mention being baffled by how they work. I still can’t comprehend how something so massive and heavy can stay airborne miles above the surface of the earth. Amazing!
Another thing that I am constantly amazed by is the stunning biodiversity of America (let alone the world!). I feel that I could spend a lifetime exploring it all, and only just touch the tip of the iceberg.
Being in the southwest is always familiar and foreign at the same time. I’ve been visiting my dad in Sedona, AZ for the past 20 years, so there is certain hominess when I arrive – almost like a relief that washes over me. I’ll be honest here too – part of the relief this time around was being able to sleep in a real bed and eat incredible home-cooked food. (Both my dad and step-mother are amazing cooks.) That was a real treat after camping for the past month and a half!
The beauty of the desert is unlike anything I’ve experienced anywhere else – the soft, muted colors, the odd, spiny plants, the red Martian soil, the rock formations in strange and unlikely shapes, and the vastness of the open sky. It’s both calming and alarming at the same time – dramatic and dreamlike, peaceful and exhilarating.
I flew back to Florida late last night, and stepping off the plane, I was immediately embraced by a gush of warm, humid air. I drove out to Sanibel Island as midnight approached, with the windows down, energized by the soft, salty air.
I’m visiting my aunt (who stays in an Airstream trailer down here for the winter). I’ve got my little tent set up under a large fig tree, right next to a small flock of plastic pink flamingos. It’s perfect.
I spent much of the day at the beach, feeling like I had died and gone to heaven. For the first time on my trip, I wore shorts and a t-shirt. I felt like all of my skin cells were simultaneously rejoicing under the warmth of the sun. I could almost feel them tingling.
I went for a swim in the briny blue water of the Gulf of Mexico, and while floating on my back looking at the feathery clouds in the sky, I couldn’t help but think that taking this trip was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.
I admit that I’ve struggled with some anxiety over the last few weeks. What am I going to do when I get back? I guess it’s normal for these things to percolate on the back burner. But as I looked out on the endless horizon today, I felt nothing but a deep resounding peace and a complete sense of trust that everything will work out one way or another. It always does.