We are riding in hot, so to speak, as we move quickly across Colorado, through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and back to Tennessee. We take a route home uncharted to us before closing the gap on our two weeks stint Out West. When we pull into Memphis we will have logged 3,781 miles in our rig.
We whet our appetites for more national parks and spend hours looking at routes to Glacier, Guadalupe and Black Gunnison. All close enough by our standards if we had more time on the road. We also consider the newly designated Indiana Dunes National Park outside of Lake Michigan as an option for when we launch from Memphis. Canada is what we thought we’d be exploring this summer but Covid-19 changed our course.
It’s a big world out there. We have so much more to see and time is not on our side at the moment to extend our trip. On the way home it’s fun to think about where we will go next. Some trips will require lots of planning and plenty of days and others may be quick strikes or long weekends. There are limitless options. Although we added a few new stickers to our map, we have a lot more to collect.
If you ask the kids about what they loved most, it would be the animal sightings. Despite the road signs often telling us to be alert, we would never see them. When we did, they were so unexpected. It felt special and unique to witness nature in full view, untainted.
Not only did we take in the wild stomping of a protective mama moose and her baby, we watched a mama coyote keep a watchful eye on her pups. We saw elk carefully cross together over a busy road. We witnessed a nursing bison and her hungry calf demand her milk with a big shove underneath. We saw several bear, mostly foraging for food. I spotted one while driving over a mountain pass and Tommy pulled over on an incline to let us stop and find it. She was a beauty and kept her eyes on us too.
They were all wild encounters. I hope each of them sparked the interest and love for animals for our kids, while also understanding the need to preserve their natural habitats…not just for our life time but far beyond it.
I want this trip to be the charge we each need to connect the dots. Nature speaks a harsh truth: survival of the fittest is on display daily. Not every animal is able to weather the changing seasons or navigate the elevations to find the sustenance necessary to sustain its body’s needs. Some choose to travel in packs while others are wired for isolation. Lives get compromised with the fight or flight instincts.We are a different breed. We are a people designed completely to have everything within us to work brilliantly and collectively for good. (Yes we are a broken people, but He who works within us does a good work in us – Philippians 2:13). Like the crack in this mirror stretching across the glass, we can easily destroy ourselves and hurt others and shatter in a million pieces.
Or, we can start the necessary repair or even entire replacement and start anew. We have the resources, the energy, the capital, the compassion, brain power and the gravitas to do exactly the opposite of wild animals. We can’t be pressed to conform to anything else.
We have a community of support within arms reach to tackle life’s toughest issues. We have the power.
We just have to use it for good because all of our lives depend on it.