Ever since I left California, I’ve been trying to figure out how to move back.  But over the course of the last 10 years, the state I love has endured some hard times.  With the astronomical growth in the cost of living, industry moving out of the state to places that are more hospitable to business (and the desert Southwest being a great recipient of that movement), high taxes, high energy costs, high crime rates, and high commute times, there are many reasons why it is foolish to move back.

When you are homesick, though, none of that stuff matters.  I miss the land, the rolling green hills that turn gold in early summer, the Live Oak and Eucalyptus trees, the rows of freshly growing produce and orchards that go on for miles.  I miss the water – the sounds and smell of the ocean, the rivers and streams that run through nearly every town, the morning and afternoon fog that envelops you like a cozy blanket, the rain that lasts for 3 days at a time and leaves everything fresh and clean when it moves out.  And I miss the way that I could take a weekend trip, never leave the state, and go to a completely different place than where I came from.  Sun/Snow, ocean/mountains, desert/forest, liberal/conservative, planned and manufactured/free spirited and natural.  Something for everyone.  Everything to keep your mind stimulated.  Everything for me.

In many ways, with its monotonous colors, monotonous landscape, monotonous weather, monotonous thought, I feel like New Mexico has made me lazy – zapped me of all of my creative energy and motivation to achieve that which is important to me.  Many people find inspiration and “enchantment” in the high desert landscape of Santa Fe.  I find the opposite – a Dead Zone.  Everything is the same, top to bottom, left to right, up and down.  48 shades of brown, incessant sun shining through 19 degree days, nothing to take your mind off of the bleakness of the place.  Boring.  Conformist.  Draining.

So on this very cold, very sunny, very oppressive Southwestern day, I eat grapefruit and oranges picked fresh from my mother’s Arizona trees and I dream of the day that I move back home.