I’ve lived in the same place my whole life, but I’ve never realized how beautiful it is until recently.
Maybe I just didn’t notice it before or I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it, but lately I catch myself staring up at the mountains.
It has been raining a lot lately. On my drive home, I noticed that the north-facing slopes are so much greener than the south-facing ones.
But Dad says this isn’t supposed to happen. South and west-facing slopes are usually the greenest, at least where we are, because of sunlight and rainwater, he explained. The south-facing Topa Topas are just dry because of their rocky terrain.
I’m not sure why even still I think of the fire when I’m admiring the mountains. Maybe it made me appreciate them more.
The trees still seem like skeletons to me. They are black and withered and don’t really fit in with the bright grass that’s growing in. They used to be so much greener. But at least they are still standing. I’m thankful for that.
There isn’t really much to do in this sleepy town, especially after having been here for sixteen years. But despite that, I can’t think of a better place to have grown up.
I wasn’t sure what to say tonight, so I decided to comment on a few things I found while flipping through my journals. Enjoy:
November 3, 2015: Middle school is hard.
(This one made me giggle.)
March 6, 2016: Being carefree is not the same as being careless.
(Not sure what prompted me to jot this down. I probably thought it was a lot more profound back then, but I guess it’s still a valid point.)
April 5, 2017: I got hit in the eye with a baseball today.
(I remember it like it was yesterday. Ouch.)
November 20, 2018: TOO MANY FEELINGS AT ONCE! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE AND YOUNG!
(This one was written in capitals and had some vigorous underlining. I like it.)
December 4, 2018: I’m just so different than I was before. But I think that’s a good thing, somehow.
(Yay for personal growth!)
December 23, 2018: Some people are just easy to love, and easy to fall in love with. They are both my favorite and least favorite kind of people.
(haha no comment.)
January 6, 2019: “Wish I was there, wish we’d grown up on the same advice, and our time was right…”
(These are Frank Ocean lyrics. MAN, I wish I could write songs like Frank Ocean.)
Sometimes I write down the random thoughts that pop into my head. It’s kind of cool to see how they have evolved over time. That’s all for now.
I’m thankful for my feet and for all of the blisters and calluses they’ve endured, simply because they’ve kept me grounded.
I’m thankful for my legs, because even though sometimes I think they are too short, they are strong. My legs have carried me across miles, mountains, and everything in between.
I’m thankful for my stomach, my back. I am thankful for my chest, because it protects my lungs and my heart.
I’m thankful for my arms, no matter how much I hate the way they look in tank tops, because they help me lift myself back up.
I’m thankful for my shoulders, the same ones that I used to think were too broad and boyish, for always keeping my head up.
And lastly, I’m thankful for my head. Although it isn’t always level, it houses my brain and all of the thoughts that are constantly buzzing around in it.
We spend too much time hating our bodies. It is easier to find things we don’t like about ourselves than it is to find things we do like. We can’t control the way we look, but we can control how we feel about ourselves.
And even though it’s hard sometimes, I think we should all try to thank our bodies every once in a while.
We need to be kinder to ourselves, kinder to our bodies. We deserve that.
My body isn’t perfect, but it has gotten me this far. And I’m so thankful for that.
There’s a ghost in my house. I’ve been talking to her.
She doesn’t talk back very often. In fact, I’ve only heard her once. I think she told me her name.
But the thing is, I’m not even sure if she’s real.
If she’s not actually there, that means I’ve been asking lots of questions to absolutely no one for about a week, which is slightly embarrassing. But if she is there, that means I can talk to ghosts, which is kind of badass. Regardless, I’m putting this story on the internet, so I guess you can decide for yourself.
It all started when we were eating dinner. I looked down the hallway and saw a white silhouette so clear that I thought it was my brother. I asked him what he was doing and turned around to find him walking into the kitchen behind me. I looked back in the other direction, but the figure wasn’t there.
“I just saw a ghost,” I said, quite matter-of-factly.
My dad, the self-proclaimed cynic, is surprisingly interested in the “supernatural,” if you will. While he’s never seen an actual ghost-like figure, he’s experienced quite a few unexplainable events.
He proceeded to text my aunt, who is our go-to gal for all things psychic and told her I’d seen an apparition. To put her into perspective, she once made me come to a meditation with her, involving tinctures, crystals, incense – the whole set-up. (Whilst there, I discovered that in my past life I may have died in 9/11, but that’s a story for another day.)
She responded saying that I needed to ask the ghost what it was doing and why it had made itself known to me. I eyed my father skeptically.
“I would do it, dude, but she [my aunt] says you’re more in-tune with this kind of thing,” my dad said to me, in a manner that reminded me of a little kid trying to convince his mother to buy him a lollipop.
My mom assured me that I didn’t need to attempt to communicate with the ghost if I didn’t feel like it.
But I felt a sense of obligation, like this was my duty. This was a task that had to be done, and only I could be the one to complete it. I was Gilgamesh setting out on his quest, but instead of searching for immortality, I was just trying to talk to a dead person.
So anyway, that’s how I started talking to this ghost in my house. At first, I was a little freaked out, but from what I’ve concluded from our encounters, I think she’s friendly and just here to visit, so I’m not worried.
I think she was telling me her name is Mary. The reason I’m not exactly certain I heard it correctly is because I thought I might have been tricking myself. My dad’s grandmother was named Mary. She was an artist and we have her paintings hanging all over our house.
But, like I said, I’m not sure if any of this was real. I’ll let you know once I figure it out.
“At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house.” (Thoreau) Write a description of your “home” or your many “homes.” You may write about the home you have or the home you dream of having in your future.
I’ve lived in one house for my entire life, nestled in between two mountain peaks that form the Ojai valley. There are only seven houses on my street, but it was an entire world to explore for my neighbors and me when we were five. We used to walk down to the end of the street and admire the sunset illuminating the overgrown grass and painted white fences. Home, to me, is the smell of the pepper trees that lined the end of the road, forming a green and red arch, as if to welcome me to the end of the cul-de-sac. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, when time passed so much slower, when it felt like summer all year long.
For as long as I can remember, the ocean is where I find peace. I can’t exactly describe why, but Solimar Beach is a magical place. Home, to me, is poking my toe in the center of a sea anemone, giggling as it squirts water back at me, as its turquoise and bright green tentacles stick to my skin. Home is my dad lifting me up onto his shoulders, then scouring the tidepools, searching for different creatures. As we wade further out into the shallow water, he teaches me about the tides, then we stop for a while to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Solimar is the place I will always want to return to for the rest of my life.
I like to think that, someday, I will make a home everywhere. I’ll sit on the balcony of my tiny apartment in Madrid or Barcelona, peering through my neighbors’ laundry, hung up to dry on clothes lines, down at the bustling city below. I’ll enjoy the morning sun as I sip coffee with condensed milk – a flavor that I despise now, but I think, someday, I’ll come to enjoy. I will smile, knowing that I’m there alone. I’m not sure how long I will be there for, probably not more than a year. After that, I’ll move on to somewhere new. I’ll live in a rainy forest along the Oregon coast, then I’ll go work at a school in Argentina or Chile. I’ll work on a ranch in Mexico, outside of a small fishing town. I don’t really care where I go; I just want to see the world.
It is true that home is where the heart is, but my heart is everywhere, I think. Growing up in a tiny town has made me appreciate the things that are routine. I love the fact that I could probably draw a map of my hometown purely from memory. It’s incredibly comforting to know a place so well that it becomes a part of you. But it has also instilled in me a desire to leave what is comfortable, to explore and to experience every place, culture, and way of life that is different from mine. A home is a place where you can come back to time and time again, and know that you belong, where you would go to without any hesitation. I’m lucky to have places like these.