Hitting the Dusty Trail

I’ll be leaving in a few days to head out for another Walkabout to spend time in my belonging place.

It seems every so many years, it’s just something I need to do — go spend time in a natural landscape that speaks to me. That’s partly because I live in a landscape that I would not choose, if I had a choice — Upstate New York, in the Adirondacks.

It’s not that there’s not lots to love about the area. It’s just that I do best with lots of big open space. And lots of sky. And hardly any trees.

Because trees, you see, where I live in the Adirondacks, close in space and

create walls


and tunnels


and corridors


and barricades to broad sweeping views


and… well you get the idea. There are so many trees where I live that I have to admit that at times I find it downright claustrophobic.

Where I’m going, there aren’t enough trees to create walls


or tunnels


or corridors


and broad sweeping views are the order of the day.


So where is it exactly that I’m going?


Where my soul feels at home. On the plains.

In what landscape do you feel most at home?

21 thoughts on “Hitting the Dusty Trail”

  1. Nita, I love the look of the Pacific Northwest. And a temperate climate is something I hope to get to experience someday. From all the photos you share, I could easily be happy on your spot. But more importantly, how lucky for you that you are fully happy there!

    Michelle, I agree. Each place has something that makes it unique and special. And while I do my best to “bloom where I’m planted,” I’ve been lucky enough or cursed enough to have discovered that special place that makes my soul bloom.

    Deb, I also really love the four seasons. I don’t think I’d be very happy without a Fall to look forward to. But I really do understand what you mean about the desert. While I couldn’t take the heat or the overall landscape for very long, I had one of my most powerful spiritual experiences in the Arizona desert. There’s something very cleansing about it.

  2. I like woods and four seasons for my day-to-day life. However, I will never forget the expansion I experienced on landing in Phoenix last year. I can’t take its summer heat but I felt so unshackled there and that is so rare for me.

  3. Well, if you do come here, you would be well advised to live in the mountains up near the Tennessee border…beautiful and cooler…and probably a bit less humid. There is very little “good walking weather” here…the humidity just sucks the life out of you. We finally got a walking machine as we realized we are never going to have enough GOOD weather to walk enough to do our health any good and because of troubles with the heat pump last month, we got an A/C that also has a dehumidifying control…and we run that a lot…you would be amazed at how much water it collects!! The first less than 24 hours we used it, about 6 gallons of water were collected!! Unbelievable!! But even where we are, it is indeed beautiful year around!!

  4. Throwback at Trapper Creek

    My favorite place is right where I am at – Pacific Northwest Forest, with some clearings! LOL the big sky and open areas make me claustrophobic, my daughter thinks I am crazy though, even after showing her Timothy Egan’s words to that effect, describing how the land felt in the Southern Plains during the Dust Bowl years. :)

    Have a great time!

  5. Oh yes….the Cliffs of Moher, I have a precious picture of my then five year-old daughter standing with the cliffs as a backdrop (ha ha…back DROP literally!) and her hair is blowing and the sun is on her face. Such a cherished picture! I was able to take my mother’s ashes and place them in a brook that took them on to the Irish sea. Now that was a day to remember! It was in Glendalough in County Wicklow, right near the 5th century tower that has stood as guardian over that sacred place for centuries. My Irish heritage comes to me from my Da…..his family was from Cork. OK…..I need to go back….now!

  6. I just had to comment again about….The Burren! I have been there four times and each time I experienced a shift in my being. I could feel the presence of those who lived before in that stark and wild place. The Burren in all her wild and laid-bare beauty allowed me to meet myself for the first time. On my first visit I was completely struck with the recognition that I had been there before, and while I am uncertain about reincarnation, I definitely “knew” I had been there once upon a time…somehow. I’m with you Karen, I could spend the rest of my life in Western Ireland. Another siren call for me I know I will answer again. Aye, it’s that gypsy spirit in us, eh lass?

    1. Cindy, did you ever make it over to the Cliffs of Moher? Now there’s a spot that will knock you right out of your shoes. Aye, the gypsy in us for sure! : )

  7. Crysania, the Burren is a most amazing place. More like a lunar landscape than an earthly spot. I, too, loved it and felt peace there. I could sit and watch the light play for a lifetime there, I think. But then if I could choose to live anyway, it would be western Ireland.

    Elizabeth, the desert is a little too stark for me, as well. Though it does have a certain spiritual presence about it. One of my best friends moved to NC and is trying to get us to consider there. If the summers weren’t so hot and humid, that would be high on the list.

    I agree. Generally speaking, I think somehow people’s personalities do reflect qualities taken from the landscape.

  8. My ideal place is to live in the mountains, among the trees. The trees in the west are usually, in most places, not quite so thick and with less undergrowth than we find here on the east coast. But we now live in the middle of NC. Lots of pine trees mixed in with deciduous. Right where we live, they try to keep things looking as natural as possible…with bits of yards mixed in with the trees and cover of pinebark on the ground. I find it just lovely…it is a bit hilly too, and thus gives one the feeling of a big campground. Bringing back memories of some of the best times of my life. The only thing that would be nicer would be to be beside a nice sized lake. But no complaints. In a way, the trees make me feel protected and safe.

    We used to live in big open sky country…15 of the most miserable years of my life. But it was not beautiful…it was desert. People seemed to have personalities to match. My opinion is that it is nicer to live in beauty as that seems to help people to be happier and kinder. Or so it seems to me. I am most grateful for this spot we are now and have been for the last 6 plus years now.

  9. I feel most at home in Ireland, out on the burren. There aren’t trees there either (for the most part). No real grass for that. It’s one of the most barren landscapes ever seen and yet it’s beautiful. I’ve been there twice and I’ve felt the most at peace I’ve ever felt. I only wish I could explore it with my dog.

  10. Deb, I love the deserts in small doses, but overall I don’t do very well with intense heat. Very special places for sure though.

    Holly, you are lucky that you can bloom wherever you’re planted. I often think that parts of PA would be nice to settle in. Longer growing seasons and milder winters for starters. I adore Pooh Bear woods! I’d like the woods up my way much better if they weren’t filled with such dense underbrush.

  11. I like everywhere. I don’t mind wide open spaces (unless it’s during tornado season) and I don’t mind the beauty of the dense forests either.

    Being from PA, we have plenty of wooded areas and the old woods are nice, not much underbrush and it feels like you are in a woods looking for Pooh Bear!

  12. The deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and Southern Utah…where you can see for miles and miles and miles. Where the air is so clear and clean and the sky so blue it literally blinds you with joy. Mesas and mountains and red cliffs…and still and quiet. Can you tell I’m from the desert?

  13. Elaine, I really like that Colorado mix too.

    Cindy, you KNOW I love Montana! LOL! And Kentucky has it’s fine points. On this trip, I’m heading to some places I haven’t been before. That’s what I love so much about walkabouts — the ability to go where the spirit, and the landscape, moves you. : )

    Simply Jenn, how ’bout we swap houses for a week in the summer? Then we both can get our fill without it costing an arm and a leg!

    Beth, I understand what you mean. In wide open spaces, sometimes the sky is so big that it can feel as though it’s pressing down on you. Some people find the encircling of trees comforting, like a hug. I find the enfolding of sky comforting, like a soft blanket.

    Isn’t it interesting how each of us has a bodily sense of what different landscapes do to and for us? The power of the land… magnificent, isn’t it!

  14. Gorgeous photos! But I must admit I feel better with trees. Too wide open spaces make me feel exposed, vulnerable, and in an odd way, choked.

  15. Montana! That’s where my heart sings! A close second is Colorado. Kentucky is beautiful with winding roads, fertile, undulating pastures surrounded by black fences that are poetry unto themselves…..and of course, horses everywhere….but, I crave mountains and big sky and my own sense of belonging too, and I find it out West. Have a wonderful time! In your book I was so moved to read about your experience on Sun Mountain……hope you have another soul-fulfilling adventure! Travel safe….

  16. Very interesting. My very favorite place in the world? Upstate New York. I live in the plains and I MISS trees and hills and borders. My family is from there, but I have lived in OK most of my life. When I dream of where I would live if I could live, it would be upstate NY. Minus the snow though, I’m not a fan. So upstate NY in the late spring/ summer? Kinda the opposite of you!

  17. Until we moved to Texas (where we spent too years) I wouldn’t have understood what you meant. The Front Range of Colorado is perfect, because we have the high plains and rolling hills, defined by the mountains to the west and usually open to the sky.

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