Jackson Evans is one of the newest team members here at Ozark Mountain Overland. Here's a piece he recently wrote comparing his new home here in Missouri to his one true love, the Sonoran desert. Watch for Jackson's profile to be added to our "About" section soon, and in some of our upcoming adventures.
Where I come from, there are mountains, not hills. This land where there are thorns, not leaves, and sun, never snow. Arizona, until recently had been my only home. A desert spring welcomed me for spring break with all her sights and smells and warmth that had always been my favorite time of year, a sharp contrast to the wet, cold grey of Missouri that I had departed from. With only a week to be back home before the inevitable return to the bleakness of the dying days of another Midwest winter, it was imperative to make the most of each day.
My home in Arizona is more than the house I live in, it is the mountains that stand over it, the desert that surrounds it and the sunsets that shine upon it. Within only a few days I found myself back in those deserts and those mountains that I had known all my life. Back under the heat of the sun, I felt the ecstasy of not only being in nature, but being in the land that was my home. I know that Arizona is not just the place where I came from, it is a part of who I am. I wear the scars of mountain mishaps on my body and I carry the beauty of a southwestern sunset forever in my soul. Being back under those familiar horizons allowed me to feel more like myself than any other place I’ve been. I was home.
For me, home means dry, brown mountains on every horizon, speckled with the green of Mesquite trees and Saguaro cacti. Another may find their home under Evergreen trees or on rolling green hills, but the effect will still be the same. The feeling of completeness when one returns home, when one finds themselves within the natural land that saw them grow up. One’s home is not necessarily where they were born, rather it is that familiar land which satisfies the soul. Such ecstasy is why we long to venture outdoors - to forge from the wilderness, a home for the soul.
Writing this, I am no longer under the desert sun, but back beneath these grey Missouri skies. Naturally, I look forward to the time when I can return to Arizona, but until then, I don’t need to suffer in separation. For one, I know that I always will be a man of the desert, and that the beauty of the Sonoran is a part of who I am that I will always carry with me. In this meantime until I return, I also have the opportunity to create another home here in Missouri. In making a second home, the desert in me is not diminished, but rather the forest is added. The outdoors is where I long to be, and the same sun shines over it all. I want to make home in as many places as I can, and find beauty in all the lands that the sun lights.