I owe my parents a visit, it has been almost a year. My mom doesn’t push or pull, she never comes out and says how much she wishes I’d visit, but when I asked her if mid-September would be a good time for me to visit, the excitement in her voice was clear. Yet, oddly, for the first time I can remember she made reference to the mood (dark and dreary) I was clearly feeling at the time, with a sort of nod to the difficulties I have always had with these dark times.

I imagine my mother is more attuned to these moods than anyone but myself. This is the same woman who knew years before I did that I would eventually go vegetarian. She knows me in a way that sometimes surprises me. She’s the mother of mothers, and can tell by the way I say “hello” answering the phone what state my world is in. She is all mothers, I suppose.

I don’t know why I resist going back to see them. Aside from everything else (and I have a good comfortable relationship with my parents), they live in the desert, and I crave the desert. I crave the hot dry baking sun, the scratchy scrabbly ground, the scorpions and horny toads, the roadrunners and the quail, the faded colors, the dusty greens with the surprising bursts of color when you see the occasional flower that the desert offers like a gift.

There is something about it that speaks to me. Something about the saguaros lifting their arms to the sky, the ocotillos with their odd bundles of spines topped by even odder flowers, the palo verde and the mesquite. Against an evening sky, there is no view I can think of that sings to my heart more.

So I will go and visit, and I will let the desert sun bake me and bleach me until what is left is the core of strength that I rely on to get me through. And maybe when I return I’ll know how to build on that, after the distractions and distortions have been burnt away.