I don’t usually like to drive. But maybe that’s because I’ve spent so much of my life living in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country, smack in the middle of several huge metropolises – Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore /Washington, D.C. The traffic can be a little intense at times in the greater Philadelphia area. So imagine my surprise when I came to realize I rather like road trips out in the Southwest. Driving out here is a completely different experience. Generally one doesn’t have to worry so much about other drivers. Instead one has the opportunity to take in the considerable beauty of the scenery that passes by – over and over and over again.
A few days ago I drove south from Denver to Colorado Springs and the next day I drove south then west then south again, heading back to my hometown on the western edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. After I got past the rush hour traffic in Denver, I just gloried in the beauty around me. I was feeding on the beauty. I was being nourished by the beauty. It lifted me up and made me grateful to be a citizen of this planet, this beautiful Earth we live on.
Tall mountains and rounded hills, forests of aspen and pinyon, green valleys, wild rivers, rocky canyons, wildflowers and chamisa, amazing skies…. Magpies and chipmunks, deer and hawks, and when we’re really blessed, antelope, bear, elk, eagles. Then there are the sunrises and sunsets, the moonrises, the thunderstorms, and the rainbows. There is just so much to revel in.
I’m an artist, but driving through country like this is so much better than any gallery, so much better than any TV show or movie. It is just miraculous how beautiful this world can be. What have we done to deserve such beauty?
I often wish there was some way I could capture the beauty – not in a photograph, but in my memory. I want to hold onto the beauty in some way, tuck it into a corner of my heart where I can pull out the images from time to time and relive the wonder of the experience. But I don’t have that capacity. I can perhaps remember how I felt or what I saw, but I can’t remember the details. I can’t bring up the the picture like a slide in a show. I can’t exactly recall the smells or sounds. Beauty is fleeting. And perhaps that’s what makes it so special.
My hope is that I never tire of this world. I hope I never take for granted the beauty that surrounds me every day. I want to always remember how very blessed I am to live in the midst of such beauty. I want to rediscover it around me every day.
How very blessed we are. Let’s never forget it.