New Washer

There is a wash behind our house.

Part of it is on our property, which makes it “our wash.” That makes no sense to me because there are huge trees, cactus, and boulders. So many boulders and acres of earth.

On a dry day, when the sun is shining, the wash behind our home is too much. Too gorgeous, too vast to ever be defined by something as silly as a stack of signed papers. That’s on a dry day.

On a wet day, when it rains and the wash comes alive, there is not enough money in the world to own that wash. It is a raging magnificence that reminds my heart that I was once a kid, while my eyes struggle to comprehend.

I took Jack to the wash today. It is his very favorite place to be a dog.

We were there a few days ago in between the light sprinkle and the last all-day pour. As we looked down into the curve of mud and color, things felt different.

I think Jack even noticed because he bounded down the earthen wall and turned to look back up at me. By the time I took my first step toward him, Jack was gone, but I swear there was a pause.

During a hard rain, usually three or four times a year for us, the wash remolds itself. The determined water moves and shifts the earth.

Last week things were crisp blue and raindrop green. The wash was packed in twisting layers of years gone by. Last week the wash was beautiful, perfect.

I remember walking with Jack and thinking that of all the places I have traveled to, the wash was in my top five favorites.

I thought that day, just as the year flipped ahead, that I wanted to stay in that moment forever. I wanted to stop and hold.

Making my way down the rocks today, my moment was gone. Things were different.

I can’t tell you exactly what has changed, but the wash has moved about and now stands before me a different version. There are a few odd-shaped boulders, but maybe those were there all along. One minute it seemed greener, but there was lots of copper too.

I got to the base of the wash, hands in the pockets of my down vest, and I wasn’t sure what to do.

Jack was gone into the mud and muck by this point and I stood there. How many times had this wash shifted and changed in the years I have lived here? I couldn’t remember.

How many more times will it change in my life? After I am gone, will it shift for my children to reveal things I will never know?

Jack circled back with impatience. I wiped my eyes because I am literally a human faucet, and we walked on.

New year, new wash and no option but forward.

The road that leads to our house is my best part of living where I live, but the wash is my teacher.

Some might call it a church or a place where things become crystal clear. A meditation spot. Whatever the label or the paperwork, I don’t  own any of it.

After years of priceless lessons and surprising strength, the wash owns me.

My thoughts from the laundry room. New Sheets.

6 thoughts on “New Washer

  1. Growing up, there was a field behind my house. A farmer owned part of it, and a nursery the other part. As a result, it was wild and filled with flowers. An oasis in the middle of suburbia. I used to feel the same way about it as you do about the wash. So glad you still have a place like that:).

  2. There was a wash behind my mother’s house in Carefree, AZ. Lots of memories there for me too during all the years I’d visit. I was amazed, for example, that after “seven” drops of rain the wash became a raging river–in fact, potentially deadly. The wash is where I spread my step-father’s ashes…just behind the garden he loved to tend. And less than two years later, it’s where I spread mom’s ashes. The rain has carried all the ashes away but their spirits, I am convinced remain in that spot… just beneath a huge Palo Verde tree. ❤

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