It always amazes me how adaptable the human brain is. Yesterday on NPR I heard how they measure the growth of information in the brain much like you see a muscle form on the arm. You can make yourself more creative or better at a sport. It’s all about putting in time, repetition, repetition, repetition. In essence the human brain is made to assimilate to just about any situation. But despite how a level of me knows this to be true, there continue to be moments where I can’t imagine being able to adapt to anything different than where I am right now.
After 6 months in one of my favorite places in the world it felt impossible to imagine life anywhere else. Our friends in Spain would say, but aren’t you glad to be going “home”. It was hard to explain that there’s no physical “home” here in the US. No comfy casa awaiting us with all our things neatly put away awaiting our return. Mostly when we leave one place is feels like we’re heading out to an unknown destination, often without much security, direction, or plan. There’s a level of my life that thrives in this gypsy state, but that tight feeling in my gut and blurred vision through teary eyes as I my plane takes off from the Barcelona International airport, proves that at times my heart craves a home.
The first days back in the states don’t really help either. My body is jet-lagged and sore. My brain can’t function properly and the normal levels of serotonin aren’t being created. Nothing is remarkable, nothing wow’s me. My body dehydrates in the altitude and dry Colorado air. My muscles primed from climbing feel like they are atrophying everyday, drying up and curling into a calloused fossils inside my bumbling body.
When we pulled into Rifle Canyon three days ago I realized that even though I’d been coming to this canyon for 6 years I may have never been there in this exact season. The colors were grey, the trees brown and barren. It was a stark contrast to the scene I had been replaying in my mind of leafy green brush and colorful bubbling brooks. But as soon as my foot hit the earth and the smell of the canyon surrounded me any sense of unfamiliarity, disconnect, alienation left me.
Throughout the next few days my muscles felt that familiar sore that only Rifle brings them, and my body that pleasant ache. Each day we saw old friends we’ve missed for the past two years. Our conversation began right where they left off and to say we all felt as comfortable as those first years when our friendship were just beginning to form is an understatement.
And so it was then again I knew my idea of home was always what it had been. It wasn’t one place for me, or pretty set of four sturdy walls. It was where I found my friends, family and people I love. Where I was accepted and found happiness. I had left one home and had gone to another. The best part is likely neither will be my last.