writing

Beautiful Things

Mendenhall, jeneau
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska
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Forty-Mile Country Alaska

I’ve been around. From Sea to Shining Sea, from the plains to the Rocky Mountains, to the northern muskegs. It’s fitting, today of all days, to remember just how big our country is. If you’ve lived all your life in just one place (and there are few of us in these wealthy, priviliged days who have) then you cannot know how far your country stretches. If you are from another nation, have you grasped what it means when I say it takes a week of driving – just driving, at least 500 miles a day, to travel from one coast to another? This is a trip I’ve made more than once. It doesn’t even include the travel needed to make it up to our northernmost state, where I grew up. 

America is vast. And she is full of people who love her, for all she is, and was, and can be. We may not always agree with one another in the minutiae, but consider – we are vast. There are cultural variations because people in Middletown, Ohio do things differently than people in Tok, Alaska, than in Florence, Oregon. But on the other hand, there are so many similarites. We cry a little at the national anthem. We love our barbecue and the Independence Day parade. Freedom is our highest ideal, even if sometimes we lose sight of what it really means. No matter the distance, we are USA. 

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Uncle Fred’s Cabin – Wisconsin

 

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Hermit Lake – New Hampshire

It’s a country beautiful not only in the scenery, but the people, most of all. Long may freedom ring! 

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My great-grandmother Ella Vanderburg, and her daughter Moya James… Great-Grandma was 96 in this photo taken in 2010. She had seen our nation grow… I want to grow up to be like these women. 
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Crater Lake – Oregon
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New River Gorge – West Virginia
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Ohio – where the rainbow ends for now…

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