By Abe Villarreal
At the end of the movie classic “The Wizard of Oz,” little Dorothy Gale has an a-ha moment. She realizes that what she longs for the most was not found in a far away, Emerald City, but right in her own backyard.
Her journey took her through a winding yellow brick road and a frightening forest filled with flying monkeys. She met some interesting characters that felt a lot like the people back on the farm.
She couldn’t see what she was looking for because her eyes were focused on a magical world where life was filled with artificial happiness and perfection.
It’s hard to see something that’s right in front of you.
When was the last time you thought of the majesty of the hills and mountains that surround our humble home? Just a short drive away, they wrap around us, bringing us amazing sunsets and cool breezes.
How about the many colorful mosaics of clay that tell the stories of our people and events? They form our bridges and walls. The infrastructure that keeps us connected.
Even better are the strangers that sit next to you at our downtown benches. They don’t just say hello, they tell you about their day and wonder how yours was spent.
You don’t need to go far to find nature’s paradise. Millions of acres of wilderness, seemingly untouched, quietly provide the serenity and peace that we all need during weekend getaways.
No boat or plane is needed to whisk us away to taste exotic meals that give moments of delicious memories lasting for a lifetime. Outsiders come to us because they hear about what our mothers and grandmothers have passed down and served up through generations.
There are times that we do go away. We tell ourselves that we need a vacation, that we need to get away from it all. A few days in and we long for the comfort of our own bed and pillow. There’s no place like home.
When we hear that help is just around the corner, it’s true. Neighbors are more than just the people living next door. They open doors for us and live to the old adage “mi casa es su casa.”
When we open the newspaper, we still read about our favorite childhood teacher and her recognition by the local civic group. We don’t mind showing that we value each other because that’s what makes a community.
Most of what we need is within arm’s reach. If we focus on each other, we won’t be in a constant search for something we think we can’t find.
What Dorothy sang about, that place over the rainbow where happy little bluebirds fly, was a place of imagination. What we have in real life, right here at home, is so much better.