I am most definitely the kind of person that doesn’t know what I am doing until I am doing it. I rarely know why I have something until I already have it or know what something means until I’m already in it. I’ve learned that describing myself to others as simply “spontaneous” is somewhat negligent and that everyone seems more prepared when I go ahead and admit to being down right impulsive. I do better living out of a backpack than out of a house and learning skills rather than collecting tools.
Therefore, armed with plenty of saved up vacation time, Oaks, my now 1-year-old puppy, and I set out to experience the rumored beauty of the western part of this continent. While I can trace my interest in this trip back to a description of Montana I heard in 8th grade, I could only trace my final campsite reservations and planned route to about 32 hours before departure. With a stop through in Nashville and Oklahoma City on the way out and back, Oaks and I visited and camped in the Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. My co-pilot and I drove just over 8,000 miles in 16 days and I would like to thank Will at Enterprise Rental for his surprisingly good attitude when he read the trip-meter upon our return.
True to self, it was not until driving into Albuquerque and picking up ten minutes of a Wisconsin NPR station and hearing a woman’s thoughts on a Virginia coal company’s decision to beginning drilling for samples in her hometown – that I knew what exactly it was I was doing on my vacation. With an audible conviction stuck in her throat the woman said, “If we are going to cut into and take bites out of this precious living organism than at the least we ought to have those who care deeply for it witness it. We, at the least, need to bear witness to these drilling sites; holding within ourselves both gratitude for life and remorse for the advantage with which we take it.”
After hearing those words I knew what I was doing, why I was doing it, and what it meant. I was traveling out west to bear witness to the beauty of this precious living organism and life and to hold within me both gratitude for the provisions each moment grants and remorse for the advantage with which I take it. Address and approach it how we will, it is only by sheer grace that we live this life and witness these moments.