The Beech Keepers

I get it LeBron. I totally get it.   

I watched the new Nike commercial today about LeBron's return to Cleveland. If you don't get teary, you don't have a pulse. 


I just spent four days back home. On the second day, as my dad drove us home at dusk after a long day at the farm, I was floored at how beautiful that side of the country was. Had I always known that or was this literally a different place than where I grew up?

"About a week ago was my favorite time of year," he said.


"Yeah. When the combines come out. Growin' up, it meant a lot of things. Getting paid was a big one."

He looked like he should be driving an old beat up pickup truck instead of a Prius. We had a full day of puzzles and attempting to find small objects in giant outbuildings. I should've worn less fashionable, more practical boots. I was an amateur. Was the girl that caught frogs with her brother still in there somewhere? I didn't know, but did wish I had some old beat up work boots and that my flannel wasn't from The Gap.

68 acres of radishes, my dad and a barn

68 acres of radishes, my dad and a barn

There had been many out of town visitors recently, but I had come the farthest, by plane.  I helped grandma wrap up the sleeping bags and climbed up the narrow staircase to put them in the upstairs closet. I couldn't help but think about the generations before me who had climbed these stairs. At least three. The upstairs hallway, much like the parlor walls, was lined with bookshelves, stuffed to the brim with books. It was and always has been the best way to decorate a wall. I wondered if my grandma had read them all.

Sitting in the dining room at the helm of the first puzzle of my visit, I noticed the most interesting similarities between my grandmother and I. She does the crossword in the paper with her coffee every morning. She hated chickens (they're condescending). Her book collection is staggering. And our seriousness with puzzles had no limit. It was the best time to do puzzles when everything around us proved extremely hard. It made me feel a sense of understanding that I hadn't felt before.

The farm had always been my sanctuary from the city growing up. It's where I learned how to swim, how to truly get lost in the woods, how to win at sword fighting with corn stalks, how to find the best raspberry on the bush, how to dig for worms and wrangle a blue gill off the hook. Nowhere, besides Tahoe, had ever given me such peace. And ever since I can remember, the farm has always been my favorite place on earth. 

Paying my respects to the vegetables that I was about to consume

Paying my respects to the vegetables that I was about to consume

Had this place changed or had I changed?  Without attaching how "uncool" northwest Ohio seems to be, a lack of culture and an understanding of people who choose to only eat fish, I felt the need to stay. I wanted to help my family through this difficult stuff that made us all stare at our boots and throw ourselves into puzzles when there wasn't anything to say.  I wanted to stick my toe in the soil and be planted there. And that feeling hasn't changed on my return to the mountains.

Someday, I want to come back to my favorite place on this planet, another place that reduces me to my 12 year old self, my best self. Someday soon. Because if LeBron can take his talents back to Ohio, maybe I can, too.