I almost took that headline literally, but that’s not a fun thing to write about. And America – regardless of what you think of our current state of affairs – it’s still a great country, and I am still grateful to be here.
In my late teens, 20s and early 30s, I had major wanderlust. As a 19-year old college student I worked at the Ann Taylor in New Orleans, and my coworker Patti would often say: take out a credit card, view the world, and max it out with your travels.
I never did that, as much as I wanted to. I had enough loan debt hovering over me and had major fears about maxing out said cards in order to travel, as romantic as that sounds.
So I stayed put, on this soil, and I’ve stayed put, pretty much, ever since. It might not be as romantic as Barcelona, but it’ll do.
I’m sitting here today, on America’s birthday, remembering my last trips to Big Bend National Park, to Palo Duro State Park, to Yosemite, and Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons…to Zion and the Smokies and Rocky Mountains…to the Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, and Joshua Tree, to Canyonlands and Mesa Verde, to the Redwoods and Sequoia, and all the ones I’m forgetting… to all the national forests and state parks and historical sites of the southwest. They may not be Spain, but my god, they are incredible…magnificent…the prettiest places I have ever laid my eyes on. That’s all here, right here, and thanks to some incredible people a long time ago who said this land was to be left sacred (looking at you, Teddy), it’s ours to share.
That’s pretty American.
I’m looking at this city I live in and all the art museums – the oldest in Texas, in fact, and many others, all the parks, all the trails and lakes, all the land that’s ours, all the historic ways in which our city didn’t allow massive growth and therefore it’s gorgeous, not like many cities filled with track homes and condo after condo after condo, and overgrowth – it’s filled with art and history and wonder, all thanks to a few families who said this place is worth saving and sharing for all who live here and all who visit. Thanks to the Basses and the Carters and to names I don’t yet know for making that happen.
That’s pretty American, too.
So I’m sitting here on July 4th, scoffing at the holiday, as I always do on holidays, and I’m realizing – wait, this country, it’s worth celebrating. We’re lucky. I’m lucky. There are a lot of places as a woman I would not want to be. America is not perfect, not by any imagination, but it’s great, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.
That advice from Patti, I may take it someday. As for today, I’m very happy to be right here, right now, enjoying this land and relishing the fact that we all have these beautiful spaces for escape and rejuvenation.
Happy July 4th.