When I graduated from college, I had all sorts of dreams. Among them was the urge to see the world--maybe not as big as George Bailey’s in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but strong nonetheless.
I had already seen much of the country, courtesy of my parents, who dragged their children from state to state during vacations from attraction to attraction. I’m not complaining--I saw the Badlands, the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, Carlsbad Caverns, Yellowstone, the Smokey Mountains, a bit of Mexico and Canada, and a host of other wonderful sights. I loved it--though I thought we should settle and soak in each sight, rather than cramming as many as possible into a few vacation weeks, only to enjoy the pictures later.
I wanted to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, to canoe the Mississippi, to sail the St. Lawrence, to cross the Rocky Mountains, to climb Machu Picchu. I didn’t want to do this alone, however. I shared my vision with several adventurous friends, but one by one, they all had new jobs, new girlfriends, new living situations or various other new circumstances that would stand in the way of such untrammeled endeavors. So, after a lot of conversation and investigation, my expeditions, one by one, were replaced by those closer to home.
Well, I have lived in the middle of the Green Mountains of Vermont, and now live a few hours from the Adirondack Mountains. At home, I’m surrounded by beautiful countryside, with beautiful hiking, skiing, and kayaking opportunities just minutes away. My wish to soak it in has become a life. Instead of going somewhere to see nature, I live with it. And when I desperately need a walk in the country just to clear my head, I only have to go outside.
I now have friends who want to wander, if not in the same way, at least to seek greener grass. I think about it, and I certainly appreciate all the wonderful sights to see, and all the wonderful things to potentially do in life.
But except for someone to share it with, I’m content.