I remember the day this picture was taken so clearly. I had been living in Texas a little over a year and I was getting ready to move to Sipe Springs , or as it is lovingly known to me now, “the Farm”. It was almost Spring and as I stood with my daughter, Amanda, and I looked out over that landscape that looked so harsh and brittle, I wondered if I would ever learn to love Texas. I moved, went to work for Hospice and had some of the most profound experiences of my life but I grew weary of the wide open spaces. I was lost without boundaries and felt the call to return to the hills. When I had moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had discovered a comfort from being surrounded by mountains. I felt protected. So many days as I walked to class or to the hospital from my car or just around the neighborhood, I would look at those mountains and my heart would burst with gratitude to bear witness to such beauty. Texas had no boundaries, the room for growth was astounding and intimidating. After almost two years on the farm, I returned to Virginia, even deeper into the hills, in Bath County. I loved being closer to my children and seeing old friends but I soon realized I no longer felt I belonged there. I was not making decisions from a stable place when I left Virginia before moving to Texas via Louisiana. I wanted to make sure I made good decisions that were not fear based or the result of deep feelings of helpless/hopelessness. I took the time to be introspective and see what I could do to be of the most use to my family and myself.
I returned to the farm and ended up living there mostly alone for a year. I had started another journey in Virginia when I became a Reiki Master. It changed the way I thought about things. So , when I returned to the farm, I did a lot of writing and spiritual work. I learned to track animals and become even more aligned with and appreciative of my environment. I wandered over 100+ acres daily, watching the seasons, hanging out with my wolf hybrid, Sam, and staying busy with work that I loved.
Years have passed since I lived in Commanche County but I often catch myself with tear filled eyes as I look at the river, check out a new park, work in my garden or become entranced by the sound of the wind as it blows through the tall grasses. It is during these times that I ask myself , “damn Leese, when did you fall in love with Texas? The answer is always the same, “at the farm”.