“That is landscape: not a place you live in, but a place that lives in you” (77).
From childhood, I had my sense of place that lives within me today— my grandmother’s farm. It wasn’t a desert but it was an area of southeastern Colorado where the nearest town had a small grocery store, one stop light and a convenience store. The convenience store only came about in the last ten years too.
Big Bend, as it’s called, is the landscape within me. The leaves’ shadows dance on the juxtaposed cement stair case in the creek bed. Who knows where the staircase came from, but its placement is ideal. Laying on it looking through the branches at the sun was the closest feeling to “Heaven” I imagined. The trickling stream nearby played a soft melody that warmed my heart and calmed me, as my body enjoyed the conducted heat from the warm cement.
My grandmother always insisted not to mess with the water from the stream, and until now I didn’t realize it was because of the fertilizers and pesticides of the modern farm.
The farm had acres of alfa-alfa. The plane that sprayed the chemicals buzzed through the fields sporadically, and stirred up animals on the farm down the road. The sounds of peacocks resembled psychotic banshees, but I will never forget that noise. Her land has natural gas deposit and her farmer kept his horses on the land. My sister Kay and I were never bored there. We played in the hand-built chicken coop, the old pig house down the worn road from the natural gas area, and when we decided to be mischievous we climbed into my grandma’s camper because that’s where we weren’t supposed to play!
On the farm, my solitude feels tranquil. I do agree that not all solitude is inner peace, but “aloneness is a condition of life” (74).
I may not enjoy the darkness or being alone, but I appreciate the landscape living within me wherever I may roam.