Last weekend, my cousin and I drove down to Southern California to visit the desert town where we grew up.
I hadn't been back in 8 years and she in almost 15. It was a good trip, but a hard trip, facing some ghosts but finally putting them at rest. I left feeling at peace with the desert, rather than the anxiety I've always felt towards it. Her story may or may not be a little different, but that's not mine to tell.
For the first time since...ever...I could actually see a little bit of beauty in the landscape, rather than just the ugly, desolate brown. This is the view I saw every day growing up. That strange mountain range with that odd divot cut out of it always fascinated me for some reason. I seem to remember thinking that some big alien monster came and took a big bite out of it.
Here's a video of the drive down the road I lived on.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to prove that it's real that I came from this extremely rural area to living in a big urban city like San Francisco. I've never felt connected to the desert. The Bay Area is where I belong.