According to Merriam Webster, the definition of earth tones is: any of various rich colors containing some brown.

This past week I drove across the country from Lake Havasu City, AZ back to upstate NY.  Despite the overflow of boxes, a hermit crab cage and toiletries from the backseat, we had an amazing trip.  The outside scenery flew by and changed frequently from day to day; everything from the desert to a slow and steady rain cloud that followed us.  We finally drove into New York in the middle of the night with nothing but black surrounding us with a soft hue of the moon covered by clouds.

On The Drive, I realized how visually influenced I am.  It sets the tone for everything to follow.  The sight and sound of rain makes me want to hibernate in a big bed with nothing but books and steaming tea.  Whereas, the sights of green make me open windows, long to feel every muscle of my body while hiking, or just keeps me interested visually when staring at endless miles of road.

As we drove through I thought of how earth sets a standard to our indoor experiences.  Often architects or designers often try to integrate the two. On the trip we saw the use of wood at the Salt Lake City symphony set the tone – natural, pure, sturdy. Mini waterfalls in the salons at Mall of America provide a calming affect amongst crazy shoppers and those receiving uncertain haircuts.

Just like earth tones, my past now has various rich colors but will always carry some “brown.” That bit of time spent in the Arizona desert has shaped and changed how I live, what I value, and how I will occupy my time in the future.  I want nothing more than to breathe in fresh air, cook fresh foods, drink water, and be surrounded by living things.  Living in the vast, open, hard to survive terrain will do that to you.