Discovering the Multitude of Beauty
“At the foot of the mountain, the park ended and suddenly all was squalor again. I was once more struck by this strange compartmentalization that goes on in America — a belief that no commercial activities must be allowed inside the park, but permitting unrestrained development outside, even though the landscape there may be just as outstanding. America has never quite grasped that you can live in a place without making it ugly, that beauty doesn’t have to be confined behind fences, as if a national park were a sort of zoo for nature.”
As our adventures come to a close, I have realized something that I did not fully understand while on the road: the variety of beauty we experienced, from inside the gates of national parks in Colorado and Utah, to the loneliness and scarcity of the highways cutting through Nebraska, to the vibrant colors and culture in Albuquerque and Nashville.
Where we slept and what we saw was also an assortment: from the comfort of our families homes in Colorado, to sketchy Motel 6’s for $30 a pop, to the simplicity and peace found in our tent. From the Bill Clinton Museum in Arkansas to the National Smithsonian in DC, the red rocks and dust of Utah to the snow capped mountains in Colorado. Every day we woke up and drove somewhere completely new, completely naive as to what was in store 500 miles down the road.
The only thing that remained a constant was the oatmeal, which also turned out to be a motif in this blog. Woops.
In any case, I think Mr. Bryson makes a good point. The natural beauty of the United States does not have to be confined to its parks, and as Nicole and I experienced first hand, it most certainly isn’t. Still, I cannot disregard that some of the most beautiful scenery I witnessed was in the Rockies, Moab, and Canyonlands. All in all, I think our combination of parks and cities, small towns and suburbs, was what gave us a balanced view of America’s splendor.
When I skyped Nicole last night–who’s now an odd 300 miles away– we were talking about this blog, and how we’d feel more sad today than we did driving back over the bridge and on to Long Island nearly three months ago. Sometimes in the moment you don’t realize how lucky you are to be where you are, and the reality of what you’re experiencing and its termination doesn’t really hit you until months later.
Together, we reminisce about our adventures, and daydream about where and when we can get back on the road.
In due time.