Something I will miss (on a daily basis) is the way the afternoon sun hits last year's grass and lights it up. Anyone who has connected to land this way will understand what I mean. And for those who haven't, imagine just loving the sight of anything your child does. That pure joy of watching their joy, or the heart wrenching feeling of seeing them hurt. Loving land does compare to that feeling. It is deep in you; it is part of your flesh.
When the rancher up creek clear-cuts the old growth Ponderosa for his cattle, you feel it in your stomach; your heart.
I am leaving Walnut Creek for my family. My youngest child (whose brothers are no longer home) has needed more than what we could provide here on the land. I am not talking about schooling; though she has decided to go to school after being unschooled her whole life. I am talking about more socializing and pursuing her dreams of competitive gymnastics and playing with a sting band. All of these activities are an hour drive from home. Being in town all day, gas prices, getting home after dark, having my dogs pissed off at me, never seeing my horses, not being able to keep up with my garden, and mostly not being able to do my job here at the Walnut Creek Center; these are the reasons why I could not stay here. I am back for the summer (my last) until the new managers take the position. After that...I'm not sure.
My children are only children for another 8 years or so. I can pursue my dreams after they've gotten a good start on theirs. They lived on this land and close to nature, in very remote and rustic conditions for most of their lives. That style of life isn't for everyone and it never felt right imposing my dreams on them (unless they, too, wanted the same thing.)
In a few years, I will move back to the cabin in the mountains where all I hear at night are coyotes, tree frogs and elk bugling. For now, I will enjoy the last six weeks I have with my Love Land. After that, I will still come twice a week to tend to the horses, walk the creeks and mesas, and photograph the land I love best.