Taking Time to Look

We were moving slow this morning after our trek yesterday along the totality of the Las Vegas strip. But we didn’t mind as today was to be our short day, ending with our arrival at our destination for the week.

2016-09-09-12-05-42A little more desert environment – real desert – on the outskirts of Las Vegas before we stopped at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead is impressively the largest man-made lake in the U.S. It is nestled within the barren and arid lands of the Nevada desert, but is a beautiful blue site on the landscape, giving life to plants, animals, and humans alike.

We stayed long enough to see the excellent National Park’s film and explore the visitor center museum. Since we didn’t bring our speed boat or fishing gear, we just packed back in the car and went on across the mountains and into the state of Arizona.

2016-09-09-15-33-34-1Arizona is still desert, but a much prettier, greener desert, that leads on to the high plateau around Flagstaff. While driving according to our Gypsy’s (or GPS’s) direction, she warned us there was an accident on the route resulting in a 50 minute slow down. We thanked Gypsy for the alert and made the decision to stop in Kingman, AZ for a spot of lunch. While lunch was nothing to write home about, it was a welcome stop to keep from sitting in traffic on the interstate because of an accident.

2016-09-09-17-40-33Traveling on, we finally arrived at our destination in Flagstaff. We have a lovely little timeshare “cabin” for the week, located south of town. We unpacked the car and started to relax. I took a short walk (it had to be short after yesterday – my hip still hurts!) and captured an Arizona sunset through the pines. It was beautiful.2016-09-09-18-36-10

We skipped out for some fast food to quiet the rumbles and picked up some groceries. As we came back I had to stand in the street and marvel at the sky. It was clear and filled with stars we so seldom see in our part of the woods. I hope we can make the trip over to the observatory while here so we can see the heavens through their telescope.

We will rest for a day and stay close to “home” tomorrow, then we will branch out and see the National Parks in the surrounding area.

While at Lake Mead this morning I saw two posters the National Parks have put out for display and I’ve been thinking about them all day. They explain so perfectly why we feel such a “pull” to see all of our country’s national parks.

2016-09-09-11-59-17One of the posters showed the newest national park that President Obama just named in June, The Stonewall Inn in New York City. The events of Stonewall opened the door for millions of LGBT Americans to begin pressing for full and equal civil rights. The caption on the poster says: “Parks aren’t just about open spaces. They’re also about opening minds.” We couldn’t agree more!

2016-09-09-12-00-04The other poster shows some ancient art forms and is captioned: “Parks aren’t just about the call of the wild. They’re also about echoes of the past.” Both speak a sentiment that sometimes eludes words. There is something about seeing these places – standing in these places – and continuing to open our hearts and minds to the past as well as to issues that still plague the future. These places challenge us with sights and sounds far from what we know as familiar and urge us to find the grace in both the comfortable and the provocative; to see beauty in the spectacular as well as in the ordinary. So much seems to often elude us simply because we do not take the time to look.

We’ll be looking some more all this week.

P.S. It’s so nice to have good internet!  What a struggle it’s been over the last four days to get connected, stay connected and actually finish anything. How much we take for granted!