The Gift of Travel

“The value of life deepens incalculably with the privileges of travel.”Nathaniel Parker Willis, 19th century American author.

It has been true of my experience, especially trips abroad. For some reason when I have traveled eastward across the Atlantic from the states there has always been a stop in Zurich, if only briefly. I have loved that city since I first visited in 1968, it’s beauty and it’s hospitality.

Many of the memories from the trips, particularly Jerusalem are indelible. The art, the antiquity and my strong sense for the presence of God made that city unforgettable for me.

Finally appreciating how much we are all alike and how much we differ deepened my appreciation for this wonderful gift of travel. It’s all good. Thank God I have been able to make the trips.

A Third Look at an Extraordinary place

We all experience heartbreak. We may have had relationships or a relationship that died through no one’s fault. We may have had ups and downs in a long term relationship that caused a deep well of sadness and regret. We all have our moments. It’s best described as being human.

In his brief ministry on earth, Jesus Christ, who led a sect of Jews, talked about his heartbreak over the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. that occurred long after his crucifixion. That included the destruction of the precious Temple. Having visited Jerusalem, in April of 2019, for me, it’s a city one just falls in love with.

There is a regret when you leave Jerusalem that is hard to explain. It’s the hilliest major city I have ever visited. Living in California I love hills and mountains. They speak to my soul of God’s artistry.

The Wailing Wall seemed other worldly. It was a place bathed in prayer. I miss it.

Jerusalem, which means the city of peace, is simply the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

What Was I Thinking?

November 24, 1983. Our daughter was three, and our son would arrive 7.5 years later. I was working 65 miles south of our home in Woodland Hills, California.

I had never experienced that long a commute 24 hours before Thanksgiving dinner. SoCal is well known for the worst traffic in the United States. That is/was especially true on this, the most exasperating traffic day of the year a la Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

Arguably, that film is the funniest American movie ever made. Inarguably, that date encompassed the most irksome traffic jam I would ever experience.

Although, there was that attempt at crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge at 5 P.M. on a Friday in New York. Verrazzano was an explorer during the European discovery of the Americas. I was exploring my sanity on that commute in ’83.

Once home, my spouse, Kristine, was able to pry me out of our small coupe. I still have a scar from the lug wrench.

Oh My, Those Fall Leaves

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” William Cullen Bryant, a 20th-century American poet. Before the cold, white snows of winter end the year in the temperate zone around our globe, there is that beautiful array of colors from God’s palette.

I still remember in the fall of ’69 a trip from Gainesville, FL to Nashville, TN. I had never driven westward through Tennessee, and this was a wonderful introduction. Along the perimeter of the highway and deep into the woods were a host of orange, brown, red, and yellow leaves. They made the long trip a short one. In my mind’s eye, I can still see God’s handiwork.

Kristine and I have now lived in Southern California for almost a half-century. Even with the multitude of microclimates in California, we still miss the choice, fall colors. It’s one beautiful smile.

Another Look at the California Bloom

This seemed worth a third look and look and look.

“THE SALINAS VALLEY is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay.” Steinbeck, John. East of Eden (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. So began the best piece of fiction I have ever read and reread.

I have lived almost 43 of my 75 years in California. It’s the place Kristine and I chose to live soon after we were married. We have loved to travel, but, the trip home is meaningful as well. It brings us to a place of great beauty.

The springtime is beautiful all over the U.S. I was missing the azaleas at the Masters in 2021 as I watched its presentation, 7 months out of sync. On the other hand those pines, those creeks, those bridges and that sunlit course are still so peaceful. It’s God’s green earth at rest in august Augusta.

In the spring, holed up, I missed the valleys of Southern California. Fields of purple lupines and orange poppies can be pictured in one’s mind just as Steinbeck described them in the Salinas Valley later in his paramount work. He was raised in that valley and knew it well. Also, our deserts bloom with muticolored and shaped succulents of all sizes.

California culture has changed noticeably in these 43 years, but the inherent beauty of this place has only changed in the mild cycle of our seasons. The coasts and the valleys bloom strikingly. Although, it’s in large part a desert, a desert that has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed.