Roughly twenty miles outside Taos, New Mexico, the Rio Grande river cuts its way through the bottom of a 900 foot gorge. It is the second deepest in the US (second only to the Royal Gorge in Colorado). Once you cross the bridge and continue west onto the Mesa for about half a mile, there will be an inconspicuous cattle guard on your left. And after that a dirt road. Even if you’re looking for it you’ll probably miss it. There are no signs and the road doesn’t even have a name. The road is six miles long. And at the very end of it, right at the line where private property becomes federal land is the house I grew up in. There is no running water or electricity. It is surrounded by sagebrush and snow in winter and sagebrush and dust in summer. Until the monsoons come and then there are gully washers and purple asters. It has a greenhouse and an outhouse and countless fiberglass windows on the second floor. It is very rustic and it holds nearly half my memories. My parents built this house with their bare hands. They raised six children here. This is where my mother read to us at night by the light of a kerosene lantern. (I would not be a writer if not for her and for this house). This is where I first believed in Aslan, and then Jesus. This is where I first cried myself to sleep after reading a novel that broke my heart (Where the Red Fern Grows). This is where I brought my husband home to meet my mother. To his credit, @awlawhon didn’t even flinch. I finally surrendered my heart to him within the four walls of this house. (We were engaged three months later). My children have never seen this house but my husband has visited three times. It looks a bit different now than it did when I was young. It looks better, to be honest. To be fair, I am a very different person now than I was when I lived there. Everything changes. But I can say this without hesitation: I am fiercely proud of this house and of the people who raised me. Houses hold more than people. They hold stories. They hold hearts. And there is a part of my heart that will always ache when I see this house.