I promised I wouldn’t talk about Texas for the entire week, so today I thought I would tell you about some of my favorite places around the U.S. I’ve been to all of the fifty states, except Tennessee, Kentucky, North Dakota and Alaska, and I’ve found something special in all of them. I really hope to make it to those last four in the near future, though I’m not sure how I’m going to work North Dakota into my travel plans. Maybe a writer’s conference up that way?
First, I have to say, there isn’t anything like spring in Texas when the Bluebonnets blanket the roadways and hillsides. No matter where else I go, a little bit of my heart remains there. Texas is a part South, part West, laid back countryside and fast paced urban. It’s sparkling lakes and sun dappled woods. It’s wildflowers and neatly rowed fields. It’s gulf coast shrimp and smoky barbeque. It’s skyscrapers and cabins at the lake. It’s Friday night football, rodeos and fireworks on the Fourth of July. It’s oil rigs and pecan groves. It’s a little slice of heaven. No – make that a big slice!
Another place high on my list of favorites is the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I’ve traveled that way many times, and each time I’m almost afraid to step out of the car. I’m afraid if I do, I may not get back in and continue on my way. It’s that lovely. It’s rich in beauty and in history, and I could be perfectly content to spend the rest of my life there. If you decide to take a look, get off the freeway and venture into the countryside. You won’t be disappointed.
I had a college professor once who asked us to write down where we would go if we decided to run away from home. She explained that we all needed a place in reality, or even in our minds that we could go to recharge our batteries when things got tough. That place for me is Lake Solitude, high in the Grand Tetons. It’s a charming glacial lake, accessible only on foot. Tenacious mountain grass grows right up to the edge, and tiny dots of color on closer inspection turn out to be wildflowers. There’s a hushed reverence there, as if the humans who made the climb are afraid voices will cause it to vanish.
When our daughters were small, we took them camping in the Redwood National Forest. It’s an experience I will never forget. The towering giants are beyond my ability to describe. They stand like sentinels guarding lesser beings, and everything is a lesser being in comparison. Their massive trunks and green crowns block the sun, creating a perpetual twilight on the forest floor. One cannot stand beneath a centuries old redwood and not be humbled.
And lest you think I’m only happy when I’m communing with nature, I conclude with one more of my favorite places – New York City. I love the towering monuments to man’s ingenuity and intelligence. I love the shameless bowing to commerce, and in its midst, the theaters dedicated to the expression of human creativity. I love the constant hum of activity, and carved out of the every moving tableau is – you guessed it – Central Park!
Thanks for touring the country with me today. I’ll be back tomorrow. Come by and visit with me again.