Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

A Spiral Journey Through the Seasons of My Place

in Guest Post, Place

A guest post by Loran Hills of Loran’s Heart.

(Joanna’s note: I am fascinated by the ways that people love the Places they call home, and I love hearing their stories. Here’s one by my friend Loran.)

I raise my arms and greet the east:


In my youth I dreamed of living in the country.  Eventually my dream came true.  My husband and I live on twenty acres in the alpine desert of northeastern Utah.  Surrounded by sagebrush, cedars and juniper trees, our house sits at 6800’ (2072m).  Cactus, sego lilies and Indian paintbrush bloom in the spring.  The Uinta (you-in-tah) mountain range is the only one in the US that runs east – west.

Today I walked east on a gravel road to the mailbox.  Bridgid’s Day is in the past but it’s not yet Spring Equinox.  The days are getting longer.

Spring weather is unpredictable.  “If you don’t like it, wait five minutes.”  We can experience snow, rain, sun, and hail all in one day.

My two children were young maidens when we moved here and, although they could roam free, they often preferred to play inside.  I never understood this.  As a city kid I longed to play outside in the woods.

I raise my arms and greet the south:

Castle Cove

Castle Cove is magical.  It’s a stunning blend of rock formations and pine trees.  Fog and snowstorms arrive over the top of the mountain and swirl around the rocks.  The play between sun and clouds, weather and terrain is enchanting.

We live at the end of a dead end road.  Visitors from the city comment how quiet it is. Today I heard the wind and the birds.

Summer weather is dry, windy and hot, but not unbearably so.  Sometimes there are large and dangerous fires.

As teenagers my daughters couldn’t easily sneak in and out of the house.  They couldn’t get cell service then either.  It was a good thing.

I raise my arms and greet the west:

Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge is covered in Ponderosa pines; they are large, old, magnificent trees.  One of them is my special friend.  I visit when I can but it’s a steep, treacherous climb up.  After a back injury last year I climbed down from the road to visit instead but it wasn’t the same.

There is a two-hour hike from the house to a cow pond at the bottom of Sawtooth Ridge where once I saw a coyote.  We frequently hear them at night.  I’ve seen fox too.  The jackrabbit and cottontail populations ebb and flow.

Fall is usually the most beautiful season of the year with its balmy days and chilly nights.

My children are in college and my nest is empty now except for the holidays and summer.

I raise my arms and greet the north:

dry fork canyon

Dry Fork Canyon is well known to tourists who travel the Red Cloud Loop Road to behold the sandstone cliffs and wildlife.  I’ve traveled to many exotic places in the world, but the Flume Trail remains one my favorite places to hike.  Every excursion on the trail is unique to the time of day and season.

Winter can be harsh, extremely cold and filled with snowy days.  It lasts a long time; sometimes it feels eternal.  Although it’s not good for the water table, this winter has been quite mild.

We live with animals, both wild and domestic.  Every evening a flock of wild turkeys peck and scratch under our birdfeeders looking for seeds before they roost at night in the cottonwood trees. Deer raid the bird feeders too and eat my columbines and day lilies.  Blue jays hop into the duck coop looking for scratch. Occasionally, in winter, a goshawk will come down from the pines and scout its prey.

Driving home one night a mountain lion crossed the road in front of me.  I was so thrilled I almost stopped breathing.  Some time ago a moose met me on the Flume Trail.  I’ve seen traces of bear on the trail too.  Our llamas sound their alarm when there are intruders.  The dogs are friendlier when they greet new arrivals.  Skunks, raccoons and magpies enjoy the cat food.

Because we have no light pollution, on a clear night the Milky Way gleams in the sky.  It’s easy to follow the cycles of the moon, the sun, the planets and the constellations.  I love to gaze at the Pleiades in winter’s heavenly vault.

The circle is cast.

I grew up on the east coast where it’s congested with people and vegetation.  When I first moved “out west,” the terrain was vast beyond my comprehension.  Now I adore the open space.

Little Mountain is red in color and sits above the Dry Fork Cemetery, an old settlement graveyard.  Although it’s not groomed, there are a lot of quirky decorations, stone benches and well-seasoned headstones.  I felt inexplicably happy when I bought my burial plot a few years ago.

dry fork cemetery

With camera in hand, I’ve increased my awareness of minute changes in light and season.  My connection to the Earth nourishes my spirit daily.  I have become native to this land that I love wholeheartedly.

The circle is open but unbroken.

Loran HillsLoran Hills is curious about all things related to personal growth and spiritual exploration. By opening her heart and letting her light shine, she is inspiring others to follow their own paths towards deeper inner meaning in life and a more enchanted existence.  She is especially fond of using her nature photographs and writing prompts to encourage others to journal.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Dominee Thu - Feb 16th 2012 6:57 am

    Absolutely beautiful post Loran! I love your Castle Cove and it’s gorgeous!

    • Loran Thu - Feb 16th 2012 8:01 am

      Thanks, Dominee! I love it too, deeply. It makes me happy to be able to share my love of my place.

  • James Wells Thu - Feb 16th 2012 8:44 am

    Exquisite, Loran. I’m in awe of the land that now calls you its own. Thank you for this ritual in words and images.
    Have you read any of Sharon Butala’s work?

    • Loran Thu - Feb 16th 2012 9:32 am

      No, James, I haven’t but will definitely check her out. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Susie Thu - Feb 16th 2012 9:21 am

    This was incredibly beautiful and inspiring to read. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    • Loran Thu - Feb 16th 2012 9:33 am

      Susie, it is always my pleasure to be able to share love ND joy!

  • daphne Thu - Feb 16th 2012 9:54 am

    it was so beautiful to travel over your land, through the seasons and into and out of your children’s lives. Pure poetry and the pictures are amazing!

    The Pleasure Nutritionist

  • Elaine Thu - Feb 16th 2012 9:56 am

    Lovely post! Such a different landscape from where I live, and so beautiful!

  • Ashley Rae Thu - Feb 16th 2012 12:15 pm

    How gorgeous and inspiring! Now I want to move out west… <3

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Christine (Girl on Fire) Reed Thu - Feb 16th 2012 12:16 pm

    Stunning photos! I am East coast girl…a Great Lakes girl…a flat lander…and I am passionate about that like you are about your space. Rootedness is so important and has become such a lost gift in our culture of moving for better and more. We could all use some time knowing a space like you know yours.

  • Carrie Thu - Feb 16th 2012 3:18 pm

    You are gifted with words and photography. Thank you for a glimpse into your life, Loran. Simply beautiful inside and out!!!

  • Loran Thu - Feb 16th 2012 5:51 pm

    Daphne, I can’t separate my experience of the land from raising my girls here through the seasons of my life.

    Christine, I know people from North Dakota who feel the same way. They told me that mountains made them dizzy or they felt like they would fall off. When I lived there, I missed the mountains a lot.

    Carrie, I’m glad you stopped by for a little visit.

  • Jo Thu - Feb 16th 2012 7:55 pm

    I am speechless at the beauty and elegance of how your connection to your place has seeped into your very bones, Loran.

    As an immigrant, I think and dream about home and my place in the world all the time. I dream of the landscapes of the vistas of my youth and wonder if my soul will always rest in that faraway land. Perhaps my circle is just cast very large over mountains and seas 🙂

  • Loran Thu - Feb 16th 2012 8:15 pm

    Aslley Rae and Elaine, the west is a great place to visit!

    Jo, sometimes you must feel so homesick, but, yes, you can cast a circle far and wide.

  • Jackie Fri - Feb 17th 2012 1:43 am

    What a beautiful piece – I was soaking up all the images and words and then got chills when I realised you were tracking your daughter’s lives through the directions. Very powerful piece of writing! xx

  • Karina Fri - Feb 17th 2012 5:58 am

    What a beautiful post, Loran! I actually had tears in my eyes when reading it. I love Nature and I can teell how much you love it too.

    Jo: Being an immigrany too, I do recognize that feeling of being a long way from home.

    I did realise just last year that where I live now is home. I love living where I live now and I don’t leave very often. Very unusual for me as I have spent most of my life travelling.

    Thank you for sharing all these sacred places with us, Loran : ).

    Love, Karina

  • Indigenous Shamanic Winds Fri - Feb 17th 2012 7:01 am

    What a beautiful entrance you’ve made here, Loran. A simple reminder to those that live anywhere that Nature and the Elements and our ‘Selves’ can all be obtained and experienced in our Daily Lives upon raising our energy levels and greeting the Earth! Not only do we find the Spiritual ways of being when gazing upon each Direction/Element of the surrounding compass around us — but even deeper in what it brings forth to us upon acknowledging it, and then in and around our Selves our Natural beauty and state of consciousness in which we receive at that very moment.

    Thank You for sharing a special part of YOU with us all.

    )O( Indigenous Shamanic Winds

  • Joanna Fri - Feb 17th 2012 8:23 am

    Loran, I’m thrilled that your story of Place struck a chord with so many people. It’s a topic so close to my heart. *Thank you* for sharing your story here on my little home on the web. Hugs and Blessings.

  • Elinor Fri - Feb 17th 2012 9:51 am

    This is so beautiful. I, too, live in the country – a lifelong dream – and being so close to the cycles of life is such a blessing, which you capture so well here. Thank you.

    My partner and I have started feeling the Universe push/pull-ing us to move from our current home (to some new wonderful place 🙂 ), and I’m beginning the work of letting go. Gratitude is such an important part of everything – both the living in the place, and the letting go of the place.

  • Loran Sat - Feb 18th 2012 9:03 am

    Joanna, I’m thrilled too! Thanks to everyone for their heartfelt comments.

  • gina Sat - Feb 18th 2012 4:59 pm

    wow, Loran those pics are just gorgeous… are an amazing photographer and writer…….loved reading this post…..can’t believe you saw a mountain lion! holy moly…….thx for sharing your seasons 🙂

  • Linnette Sat - Feb 18th 2012 9:39 pm

    Your night sky sounds magical! And you definitely do not have the “city energy” to get between you and the energy of Mother Earth. Sounds very sane and nourishing.

  • Robyn Mon - Feb 20th 2012 2:14 pm

    My father was born in Utah and he died in Utah. In between, he was in the Navy and saw the world. He lived a simple life in the desert. He had a tree on his dirt road that had a bald eagle and a golden eagle. He often photographed them. The day of his funeral, there were a dozen eagles in that tree.

    I was born in Utah and go back occasionally. It is a beautiful place. I was raised in South Texas and now call Oregon my home… all beautiful in their own ways. I think it’s so important to notice the beauty around you.

  • Natasha Tue - Feb 21st 2012 9:22 am

    Coming from the Big Apple I love open country, gorgeous endless skies and nature’s dazzling show…this is incredible. Your words, your thoughts, your memories made me fall in love with this incredible space. Thank you so much for sharing what is clearly a part of your heart!