Today I drove from Indiana, through Illinois, and across Iowa. I’ve done many a road trip across our great country and each of the trips leaves me in awe of the beauty of each of the states, from the largest of cities to the smallest of towns, from the highest of mountains to the lowest of valleys, and from the plains to the forests.
If you have never had the opportunity to just hop in the car and drive for six or seven hours, then turn around and go home, please make a plan to do so, even if it means you have to save up the gas money to do it. You don’t necessarily have to spend the night away from home, but the trip will be good for the soul. I would never want to permanently live on the back roads of our nation, but I do enjoy visiting, even if only as a drive through.
During my drive today, I drove by and crossed over many winding creeks and rivers. Saw the reds, oranges, and yellows of leaves turning for the fall. Was surprised by the majestic flight of a bald eagle startled when I drove by, which in turn startled me as I stared at its majesty. Observed the lights of harvesters as farmers cleared corn fields in the dark. Got scared when one of those harvesters drove by me at dusk looking like a huge monster coming at me with humongous teeth bared. Looked in awe at churches along the way that were more beautiful than many cathedrals I’ve seen in the large cities I’ve visited. And felt joy seeing many small town downtowns still thriving in 2020.
As I drove I became more relaxed. There is something about country air and vibe to calm the nerves since it feels a slower pace than being in a city.
I kept thinking how much of this also feels threatened by the pace of innovation and the changing demographics of our country, which those of us who live in large cities just seem to take for granted. How it must feel to see things on the TV that just never enter their daily life experiences. How gays, lesbians, Blacks, LatinX, transgendered, Asian, certain fashion and art must seem so foreign since living in the far country may not lend itself to being around such people and things.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with any of this. We all live or move to the place in which we feel most comfortable. The downside to this is it means many of us never encounter the “other.” It means we don’t always get the opportunity to know or interact with the unknowns of our country and the modern era.
My wish, as I was driving, was how we should all have the opportunity to go to the country if we live in the city, or go to the city if we live in the country. We should have a program of sorts that provides paid time off and a small grant for expenses to allow all of us to see the beauty, the diversity of people and scenery of the immense-ness of the United States. Everyone should be able to see why we need to fight to preserve our country and see us as one nation, to find our niche, and lift us all up to live a life, not just exist a life.
I truly believe we can all coexist as one people, pursuing our life, liberties and pursuits of happiness.
After you’ve developed your plan to vote, and voted. Once the election is over, develop your plan to take a day trip road trip and just drive in a direction you’ve not gone yet to see sights you’ve not seen before (hint: you have to leave your phone alone to get the full experience).
Make sure to say hello as you pass by on your road trip journey to parts unknown.