Timeless Wonders

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I have a friend who purchased an RV upon retiring and she has been living on the road ever since. I know firsthand just how tranquil her life must now be. It’s rather wonderful to wake up in the morning to a woodland scene or where the vista is a lake or a mountain or both. The pace is as slow as you want it to be and there are so many breathtaking places to see. It is a luxury that I would wish for everyone at some point in their lives. Enjoying such a lifestyle is incredibly rewarding. Through our travels I have learned what a remarkable country we have. 

It would be easy to become negative in the face of all of the dire predictions from our politicians. Out on the road it becomes apparent that ultimately we are going to be just fine. Our resources both natural and human are abundant. Sure we have temporary difficulties here and there but for the most part life is good for Americans. We just have to be certain that we care for the wondrous treasures that we have. 

Teddy Roosevelt was long dead by the time that I was born but thankfully people like him and John Muir realized that we must be caretakers for our beautiful land. They had the brilliant idea of setting aside some of the most scenic locations for eternity so that even future generations may enjoy their splendor. It’s up to us to honor the great gift that we have been given. We can’t take our national and state parks for granted. It is up to us and our children to be certain that they thrive. 

I have friends who are right now in Zion National Park, perhaps the most spiritually beautiful place in the country. No words or photographs have the power to convey just how wondrous this locale is. I remember my own visit there and the word that closely but still inadequately describes it is “peaceful.” It gives off an aura of godliness. Surely the very hand of the Lord carved out the canyons. It is difficult to visit a site like Zion without feeling somehow changed. It has a way of helping those who walk along its trails to prioritize their lives. It is magical.

Mike and are are spending several days at Goose Island State Park. Little wonder that the whooping cranes come to winter in this area each year along with hundreds of “snowbirds” from the north who arrive in their RVs in search of warmth. It is a quiet place where the heartbeat and the pulse slow down just a bit. The birds frolic and the ants entertain as they carry provisions to their mounds. Out by the bay there is always a fisherman or two hoping to catch dinner or just to enjoy the sea breeze. Life is not measured by a clock here. It is so easy to forget time altogether. There is no hurry to get somewhere. Just sitting and watching the play of nature is enough but there are dozens of lovely trails for those who have a difficult time staying still. 

When I am at home and my television is blaring out the news I sometimes forget the wonderful places that exist within a short drive. I should visit them far more often than I do. It is good for the soul to turn off the irritations over which we have little control but drive us insane nonetheless. I doubt seriously that all of my worry ever makes a great difference. Things will ultimately work out one way or another and the only real power that I have is to take charge of the way I feel. Somehow being away from the madding crowd helps me to stay very positive indeed.

When Mike and I were younger all we needed was a tent, a couple of sleeping bags, a cooler and a camping stove. While a trailer is nice it is not necessary for a good time. In fact, sometimes sleeping on the ground only intensifies the joy of the experience. Those who are still in the prime of their lives can see the country from shore to shore with little more than the cost of gasoline which happens to be quite low right now. Communing with nature is perhaps the best possible way to deal with worries and cares. It clears the head of all of the garbage that litters our ability to think. It reminds us to be grateful for what we have rather than to constantly dream of what more we want. 

When our girls were still in elementary school we went high tech with our camping. We put a clam shell on the back of our pickup truck. Mike built some wooden storage units along the perimeter that also served as beds. We took long trips to Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. We must have looked quite ridiculous climbing in and out of the back window of the clam shell each evening to go to sleep but we were having so much fun that we really didn’t care. I suspect that all four of us recall those days with enormous pleasure. Nothing else that we did during that time of our lives can compare with those fabulous trips.  

It’s so easy to get totally frustrated given the twenty four hour news cycle that even sends instant messages to our phones. We begin to actually believe that we are living in hellish times when in reality most of us have it quite good and in spite of the admonitions of some of the fools who want to lead us, this is still a pretty great place to be. It only takes a few days away from it all to see that we are actually quite blessed.

I went with Mike to a doctor’s appointment this week. (He did great by the way.) While I was waiting a man who appeared to be perhaps ten years older than I am struck up a conversation. He was a friendly enough sort and he appeared to be a bit lonely so I played along. He wanted to know if I was following the news about the presidential candidates. Of course I was able to tell him that I knew quite a bit about each of the races. Without thinking I joked that I was worried that Donald Trump might be the Republican nominee. It was a big mistake on my part for the man went into a state of apoplexy at the thought that perhaps I didn’t understand the issues and what was at stake. The world that he described was much more sinister than the one I know it to be. He seemed to be anticipating Armageddon while I believe that we will rock along just as we always have one way or another. 

As I attempted to remain calm and even a bit jocular I realized that for this man the race seems to be a matter of life and death while I truly believe that we will be just fine. We have made it through some pretty tough situations again and again and again. We are a far more resilient bunch that we give ourselves credit for and we don’t have to be mean or selfish to be okay. While there are limits on what each of us may have there is still enough to go around. Sitting here looking out my window at the lovely forest where the cardinals are playing at some aviary game convinces me that the world is mostly a very good place. Believe me, if you take the time to visit a national, a state or a local park you will see what I mean. Get away from the noise and the roaring crowd and it will become quite apparent. Enjoy the wonders. They are timeless and help us to understand just how ridiculous most of our worries really are.

 

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