This past week I found myself performing outside LA in Venice, California. After the ridiculously long winter we've had here on the East Coast I was thrilled to partake in the sunshine. Between shows I visited the beach, dragging my toes through the sand, basking in the cloudless days, and enjoying the taste of saltwater on my lips. It was all so wonderful, but it got me thinking: How much are we influenced by our home topography?
I pondered this as I sat in my window seat on the flight back East. I watched as the ground below shifted from urban Los Angeles to expansive California desert. Then from desert to Arizona's deep red rock. And from red rock to the geometrical, agricultural fields of Oklahoma and Texas.
How much did each of these locations, the physical essence of the land, influence the people who live there?
Then I thought about my own story. I grew up against the back drop of the Appalachian mountains. Twenty minutes from my house, the Blue Ridge dominates our skyline, its comforting peaks and valleys the stuff of John Denver songs. Appalachia was for me the stuff of storytellers, of folk songs, and campfires. With each season came a sense of peacefulness and wonder. Laurel groves in the spring, and golden, red highlighted leaf filled paths in the fall.
Suddenly, the plane hangs a right. From my window I see the velvet like applique of the Appalachian mountains come into view. Like an old friend, they stand waiting for me - right where I left them.
And in that moment I think: "Now I am truly home."