I write about this every now and again, the love I have for Arkansas, for its beauty and Southern-ness. My drive to work takes me down curvy country roads,with hills and trees and cows and old dilapidated barns. It is lovely here. Five years here and sometimes I still stop and wonder at this place, the fact that a river runs through the middle of my town, a river with enough substance that fish and crawdads and ducks make their homes in it. I wonder at the green, the wet. I love the old farmhouses, the wide porches and wood siding. Being a native New Mexican, these things are still new for me. I grew up in southeast New Mexico, a totally different landscape. Out there you can see for miles, there aren't hills or trees to block the view of Capitan Mountain, its snow peak incongruous with the shimmering summer heat. And even though my family is from Arkansas, and I ended up here in a strange full circle sort of events, New Mexico is my formative place. I was raised in desert shrubs and dirt, rock yards, dry river beds and the annual tortilla toss. And that place, its wide views and green chiles roasting in the summer evening, that place will always have its place in me. I couldn't remove it if I wanted to.
So I love it here and I love it there. I didn't know it was possible to love a place so much as I have come to love Arkansas living here, and New Mexico in my absence. And if my soul had to find a place to live, I don't know if it would make its home in the lush green South, with grass and trees and wide wooden porches, or if it would make its home in the open Southwest, in the dry heat and stucco walls, where the mountains erupt out of the flat land, walking around in dusty moccasins.