There are things I have found in The Mountains of the East that are the richest balm on the places within that dream of water.
In The Mountains of the West, the desert will give you a thorough drying. It takes your knots and untangles them, the holes and cracks fill in with windblown dirt. It evaporates the muddy pools that have been sitting stagnant, perhaps harboring poison bits and larvae that mean to seep into your heart. You are beaten with elements, drenched in an annual rain that is never quite enough. The skin is burnt by the sun and torn by cactus spines. Birds of death circle overhead and wake you from sweet dreams upon morning. Walks in the deep forest are met with some of the most fearsome predators we can know, and it is here we are reminded we have become weaker than mice. Your own home tends toward a desire to be taken by the earth around you and it is a struggle to keep it warm or cool. Muscles form with work and cutting wood, sweat is the wettest thing our water body knows. If you live near snakes, they often like to find refuge under your foundation and feast on the darling rabbits with whom you share breakfast, and then fight you when you attempt to say This is my home, not yours. Spirits roam heavy in the lands that were taken from them when they were corporeal, or sometimes they simply do not want to leave because despite the hard and sharp ways of living, the land spins a potent enchantment.
This is the place I love. I have persevered through all of these things, and I did it during a time when my heart was sad, atrophied by a near lifetime of ignoring or fearing what it said, absorbing the extraordinary pain of those I have held most dear, enduring shared dreams' destruction by fires that almost burned us alive—things we all experience in our time here, but that prevalence does not diminish the effects. This weakness of our most emotional organ is an illness as toxic as cancer, yet the remedies are not found in vials or hospitals. The grief of separation from our true selves can only be resolved with attention to how we became this way and action toward its repair. It took three years (almost to the day, what a marvel), three rotations through space around our sun, three circles, of quiet work to rebuild my spirit in ways that it cannot be torn down—and it has regenerated! This is the magic of the body and soul, and we can always become the magician of our own creation, if we will it.
I give infinite gratitude to the place that held me while I healed, the mountain range whom I loved as a mother, the little round handmade house that sheltered me from the elements, the authentic souls I have communed with here and between worlds, the flowers that returned each year, the snows that blanketed the nights I lay by the fire's side, the dirt that always supported me, the rains that came when they were needed, the wild horses that came to my door and let me pet them and feed them carrots, the skies that make me feel like I do in dream when I am a bird, the plants who nourish the deepest and most forgotten places, the bitter alpine high elevation winter that reminds me I am alive. This is the place I love, and I will always return here.
Now, though, the green and ancient mountains call to soften, renew, and grow things I have not yet imagined.