Bubbles and I logged 3,300 miles through eight states last month. That's a lot of tanks of gas (ouch), a lot of "traveling mercies" (thanks, Lord), and a lot of time to contemplate the scenery. Here are some of the sights I enjoyed at 65 mph.
Colorado on a sunny fall day.
A few weeks ago, I told a native Coloradoan (Coloradite?) who I'd just met that theirs is my "drive-through state." I think this was taken negatively, but that's certainly not how I meant it. Those eight hours on I-70 are scenic and thoroughly enjoyable, minus the Denver traffic. West to east, desert to mountains to plains, I find Colorado provides just the transition I need, physically and mentally, from Utah to Kansas. Plus, I have not yet grown out of the stage where it's exciting to drive through the tunnels and hold my breath.
A Colorado cottonwood: "...the light-reflecting, wind-loving trees of the desert, whose roots are always seeking water and whose leaves are always talking about it, making the sound of the rain."
That's a quotation from The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather, which I had finished reading just a few days before this trip. The book is set partly in a small town in eastern Colorado, and the windswept landscape plays an important role in the story. As I left Denver and the Rockies behind and made my way across the prairie toward Kansas, I couldn't help but think of Cather's vivid descriptions—the lone, stalwart cottonwoods in particular. And it occurred to me: I could learn a lesson from the desert cottonwood, how it yearns after water and speaks of it unceasingly.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works. (Psalm 73)
Grain elevator west of Susank, Kansas.
"I love the prairie! So often have I seen the dawn come and the light flood over the land and everything turn radiant at once, that word 'good' so profoundly affirmed in my soul that I am amazed I should be allowed to witness such a thing." (from Gilead, Marilynne Robinson)
Wyoming, in all its snowy, windy, foggy, freezing glory.
While I was staying in LaGrange, Wyoming, a storm blew in and dumped several inches of snow on top of a layer of ice. So I postponed for a day the last leg of my trip. I should have waited another day or two for the roads to clear, but I was itching to get back to Utah and I just plain didn't know what I was getting into. The first two or three hours were... an adventure. I lost count of the wrecked or abandoned vehicles along the way. Still, there was no denying the beauty of snow-covered southern Wyoming—a cold, treacherous sort of beauty that I was glad enough to leave behind and reach Utah.
I drove west through Provo Canyon as the sun was setting. The Utah horizon was the only "welcome home" I needed. Thank you to the many who prayed me through this trip.