It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived somewhere else. Or how far away. Or how often you’ve returned. There is something about the place you grew up. It has a smell, a feel, a familiarity that few things have. And it’s strange isn’t it because you don’t realize this until you return. Then, you are flooded with the memory of place. I traveled to my home state of Texas for Thanksgiving. After 15 years there, I moved to a state that couldn’t be more different, Washington. Where Texas is dusty, flat, and hot, Washington is green, cool, and mountainous. That makes it sound as if Texas isn’t a beautiful place. But it is. To me. The cactus, the six foot tall wild sunflowers, the fields of bluebonnets, the sky, massive, and rivaled only by the one you look up to in Montana. It’s hot day and night. There are thousands of ‘cricks’ (creeks) you cross while driving. So many in fact they’ve simply run out of names for them and the sign will read “Creek.” Despite these many water sources, the land is not lush by any stretch. Everything needs a drink. There are cows and armadillos and tarantulas and crawdads and the biggest insects you’ve ever seen. It was a short visit to see my grandmother that involved about an hour car ride from the airport to her place. During that drive, with my husband glancing at his i-Phone for directions and our daughter watching movies on her i-Pad, I stared out the window at the passing landscape and remembered. What I felt like as a girl taking long car trips with my mother across these very highways when all you had was the scenery to look at. What it smelled like when it rained on hot asphalt. The cool water from a river crossing the road. The way the sky turned a million colors before filling with stars. The feel of dirt in your toes and wind in your hair. My parents, young again. My childhood. My dear grandmother and her yard full of pecan trees. No matter where I go, this place is in my blood. It is my home.