It’s electrocution election season and everyone’s charged and juiced up for a shoutdown scrappy fight.
After driving 5000 miles across 12 states all we saw was blue sky (astounding clouds), red sunsets (when it wasn’t raining), amber waves of grain and corn and rice (beyond the junky malls), crystal clear or muddy brown streams and endless green forests and fields.
Politicians who bluster and blabber to bamboozle us are a tiny squeak up against the thunderstorms and tumbling waterfalls. A salivating salesman pipes on about making America “great again.” Ha! Send him to our true greatness: the National Parks, and the wonderful diversity of travellers and townsfolk across the vast land. As Muir said, nothing like a good baptism in the beauty of Nature!
That’s about as political as I can be right now, listening to the songbirds and looking up toward the wooded hills of the Blue Ridge.
My wife and I just took a month to drive across 12 states for 5000 miles. We saw wide and wild rivers (Rogue, Columbia, Yellowstone, Arkansas, Mississippi), wide open skies and valleys (Montana, Wyoming) and wide open plains (Colorado, Kansas). We sauntered on stunning trails in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. We were delighted to see eagles and bison, a grizzly and black bear both with cubs, big horn sheep and countless prong-horn antelope. Stunning sensory overload! We drove and walked and sat right in the middle of the United States of Beauty. Wide open secular sanctuary inviting creatures of all kinds to enter and do nothing but “experience” it all.
While driving we discussed how every American (and all the world) should be given the opportunity, somehow, to have this experience. Get out and see the greatness of the earth beyond the divisive distractions of politics, religion and the daily struggle to “do something meaningful for money.” It really doesn’t matter where you come from, what you believe or don’t believe, what your religion or politics or skin color or sexual identity might be. It’s our world—a world of wonder open to never ending discovery.
Along our vagabond four-wheel voyage in the Rogue we also entered some powerfully moving sanctuaries of education. Stopping at a few preserved historic frontier forts we were struck by the disastrous treatment of Native Americans as their culture was destroyed and their land taken. In Topeka, Kansas we were deeply moved by the historic Brown vs. Board of Education site, a center for the fight to end segregation in public schools in 1954. Then we headed south to the John Brown historic site in Ossawatomie, Kansas to visit the cabin where the radical abolitionist stayed while fighting for the rights of enslaved people. On to Memphis for a searing visit to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was killed. It is now a part of the National Civil Rights Museum and really should be visited by everyone who cares about Rights for Anyone and Everyone.
John Brown hideout
Fort Scott, Kansas
George Washington Carver farm
Carver the Scientist
Central High where the “Little Rock Nine” Students simply wanted to go to school
Where MLK died, but the Dream did not
Civil Rights Museum
Mile after mile we felt and touched and reflected on the wider openness that’s out there, maybe even out our window–if we have a window. What’s out there? Go see! Drop the stress and go. . .even for an hour. You’ll never be the same. We’ll never be the same after our journey. . .and it will continue as long as we have breath and curiosity to learn.