A land you learn to love slowly.

artwork and photography by amanda sandlin
“It’s a land you learn to love very slowly.”

I jotted this quote from Francis Mallmann down one night while watching his episode of Chef’s Table (for, like, the 20th time).

..a land you learn to love slowly.

I paused the show and let the words sink in. They felt like warm vanilla. Comforting and familiar, yet something I’ve yet to experience during my 27 years on this earth.

I moved a few months ago. Same city, new apartment. That felt weird. I’m used to moving a bit farther — across the country or an ocean. I have a knack for starting over. For burning it all down. I’ve never stayed for long, never rooted, never fought for love.

It’s not that I’m bad at staying. I’m just really, really good at going.

But here I am, in the same city, flocking to the mountains a few times a week with the rest of Denver while Francis’ words echo in my head.

..a land you learn to love slowly.

It’s easy to be inspired when you’re in constant movement, when things are fresh and new. It’s also fleeting, and I find myself looking for a new kind of inspiration, one that’s rooted and real and connects on a deeper level. One that can only come with time, with tears, with being willing to look again and again at the same person, place, or thing and see a new layer of beauty every time.

I want piles of canvas and papers around my apartment, all works in progress. I want inside jokes and a local coffee shop. I want my house to feel like home. I want a book collection and red wine with the windows open after a long day. I want a favorite crag, a backroad, the long way, becoming so familiar that I can anticipate every turn and twist, like the lines on his face and the backs of his hands.

I know how to burn it down. I’ve done it over and again. I believe newness has its purpose, its beauty. But I’m ready for something different.

What’s curious, what’s interesting to me.. is staying. Is being a part of something bigger than myself. Still seeing the world, being exposed to new ideas, different cultures, appreciating foreign lands, all while staying rooted in a place that grows on me, and I with it.

..a land you learn to love. slowly.