Monday, August 21, 2017

Everyday Miracles

In case you all didn't notice, especially if you live in the midwest, the sky got darker today and it wasn't because of a tornado or thunderstorm.

There was a total solar eclipse, a rare astronomical event, was last seen in North America in 1979. The next one won't be until 2024. As with this year's event, unless you live in the path or plan to travel to see it, your best bet is to watch it on TV or via live stream. As with most people across the country, we were treated to spectacular cloud cover which created an eclipse of sorts--one that happens several times a week--and literally eclipsed the real eclipse.

Perhaps it's because it can be dangerous to watch this natural phenomenon, or because we were not in a prime viewing location (and had no plans to travel to one), or maybe it's because there has been so much hype about it, but I wasn't overly excited about watching the eclipse. True, it's an uncommon occurrence and it's cool to think of daylight being obscured in the middle of the day and the attendant weirdness (roosters crowing midday, owls and bats coming out in the middle of the day, etc.) does pique interest. But really, what about every day events that deserve our attention?

The sun sets every day, but not every day brings a spectacular blaze of color to the western sky. When was the last time we appreciated a sunset? Or a sunrise, when the morning is cool and the birds are just waking up and starting to sing and the sky begins to lighten? Or a thunderstorm with jagged lightning bolts lighting up a night sky or curtains of rain drenching the land and helping things grow?

It's easy to grumble about a sunset blinding us as we drive home at the end of a long workday. Or about having to get up early with too little sleep to get to work. And of course, there is scarcely a person in the world who hasn't cursed a rainstorm that causes canceled plans and power outages and other inconveniences.

Maybe if we only could experience those things as rarely as an eclipse would we be able to appreciate the little miracles that happen around us every day.

The sunset from our house, three days before the eclipse

Monday, August 7, 2017

Road Trip!

Over the years, Paul and I have developed a great many more interests than we had when we first married. Many of them have led to a lot of great adventures, but one thing that we've always enjoyed doing together is road trips!

Our first road trip was our honeymoon. We drove from El Paso, Texas to Niagara Falls, New York in a Nissan pickup truck that had no air conditioning. We drove up through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and into New York in three days, stopping in Amarillo, TX, Springfield, MO, and Columbus, OH. Up till that time, I had never been further east from El Paso except for visiting family in Hobbs, New Mexico! The fact that this trip took place in the beginning of July during the great summer drought of 1988 and we made it without consulting attorneys bodes well for us reaching our 50th wedding anniversary! We drove back through Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and spent a few days in our nation's capital, then continued on through Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and on to home in New Mexico, stopping in Knoxville, TN, Little Rock, AR, and then visiting Paul's sisters in Santa Fe. While we were glad to be home, we still talk about that trip!

Since then, we have made many trips--several trips to Santa Fe, NM and San Antonio, TX; Phoenix, Lake Havasu City, and Grand Canyon, Arizona; Estes Park and Canon City, Colorado; and Monterey, California. Many times family accompanied us on these trips, but mainly it was just the two of us. We love seeing new places, watching the sun come up or go down from different vistas, visiting new towns and eating in little roadside diners or from the cooler in the back of our car or truck while exploring a new state or city park. 

We have taken many trips by plane as well. On occasion, there just isn't enough time to take a leisurely drive if we only have a few days off from work and, in some instances, it was simply cheaper to fly (yes, $49 fares really are a thing sometimes!) And of course, driving to Europe is definitely not possible! But we are truly believers in the phrase "getting there is half the fun" and, given a choice, we prefer to drive.

Next weekend, we are taking an familiar road to San Antonio to spend a quick four-day weekend with close friends. True to our nature, we are excited though we can make the drive with our eyes closed and several people have pointed out that, for only a short visit, flying would definitely save us some time. But we are taking a detour, veering off the faster and more direct Interstate 10, to make a side trip to Alpine where there is a small, well-known bookstore where I hope to do a book signing. Along the way, we will drive through small Texas towns, watch the sun come up near the Big Bend area (we like to leave early--about 3 or 4 a.m.--when we go on road trips!) and eat breakfast in a place too small to have a Denny's or IHOP. 

And along the way, we'll probably reminisce about previous trips and look forward to future ones!

The first leg of our trip always includes making a left or right on US 70!