Every time I return home I rediscover parts of the place that I had forgotten or looked past in my childhood.
This time - a reminder that Durango is neither desert nor mountains singularly, but a place of transition. I often reminisce on home as if it’s at the very base of the Needles but instead it looks much more like desert plateaus trimmed with San Juan spines. Hogsback used to look flat and one dimensional when I was younger but as I grow, I see the steady rhythm of its sandy ridges and the prominence of its gradient incline. I notice how the mesas compliment the peaks that appear behind them, holding them up on their well deserved pedestals of grandeur.
We went on a hike I had done many times as a kid but my muscle memory had forgotten its simple patterns and directions. I watched the nuances of the earth exposed beneath my feet, the snow that clung to the tread of my boots revealed a new color every couple steps. Deep oranges, muted greens, sun bleached yellows, and rich reds. Each layer, my favorite type of clock - not counting seconds but eras.
The smells are more like the boney desert than the richness of alpine trails. The sage, juniper, and pinon trees put off the perfect potion of balanced scents aromated by the snow bouncing off pine trees. It’s a nostalgia that can only be found in its place or origin - bottling it would only dilute its potency.
I still don’t know how to photograph in this place yet. My lens can’t focus just right and nothing seems to be ‘inspiring’ - whatever that means. But home feels like home again more and more because what made it special as a child is finally overpowering what makes it painful. For that, I’ll keep coming back for the lessons and maybe someday to root myself once again.