Posted by: MC | May 11, 2012

10,589 Miles Later

Here are some things I have come to know:

The land of the United States remains vast and more beautiful than any imagining.  The people of the United States remain more capable of wisdom, kindness and cooperation than our media and leadership lead us to believe.

GPS systems can get you almost anywhere – sometimes by incessant nagging, sometime with astonishing grace. I hear there may be an annoyingly breathy replacement coming for the current drill sergeant voice.  I think I prefer the drill sergeant.

It takes longer to drive across the six states between Wisconsin and Portland than to drive the nine states between Jackson, Mississippi and Manhattan even taking the long way through Atlanta.

There are vastly more toll booths between Jackson and Manhattan.

The Great Lakes are really huge (e.g., the same waters variously lap and crash against the edges of Chicago and Milwaukee and all the two-hours of land I drove at 70 mph (+) between the two.  When I got to Utah, I saw that this assessment of hugeness goes for the Great Salt Lake as well.  Thus the Greatness, huh?

Families in Nebraska and Iowa (and certainly many other states as well – Farmington, NM especially) still drive or bus long distances to support their kids who play team sports.  I watched 11 year old boys play baseball in Council Bluffs, Iowa and 7 year old girls play volleyball in Omaha.

There really are alligators in Gainesville, Florida.

The Barton Springs still flow in Austin.

NewSouth Books,  a flourishing publishing house and the Equal Justice Institute,  a non-profit dedicated to providing people with few to no economic means with fair and just representation in the legal system are only two vibrant points of generativity and vision in Montgomery, Alabama.

The plants lining neighborhood streets in Santa Barbara must be the concepts and designs of Dr. Seuss (please see photo above).

Limited funds don’t go so far when gasoline prices are on the rise.  From my experience, gas costs most in CA, NY, IL and OR.  Three years ago, I tanked up in Atoka, OK for $1.89.  Enter through the door of gasoline or reality shows or school lunches and eventually you find you start talking about and listening to hopes and dreams and worries about love and health, about family and community and work, about the ways life is meaningful and the ways life is hard.

Really listening to any other person brings surprises, comforts, inspirations and insights beyond any that I can ever anticipate.

Continuing to listen when I get offended or afraid reveals even more of these learnings.  It also reveals relationship where I may not have thought there was any.

Seeing Venus and Jupiter in the night sky at the same time and closer with the passage of every night between North Carolina and Wisconsin (as happened in February 2012 and likely won’t again in my lifetime) is a testimony to the quiet constancy of magnificence and the astonishing wonder of being alive.

Listening is another such testimony.

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