A Bottle Tree & A Return

August 23rd, 24th, 25th (Travel Date)     

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Sunlight filters through the pine tree needles to other leaves on other trees, lighting up the glass on the bottle tree, incinerating captured negative spirits of the night; or so I’ve read is its purpose. It’s a beautiful thought, that the spirits that sometimes haunt dreams can be removed so easily, like some feather laced dream catcher and its sinewed web. What makes us human, these similarities of purpose and identity exist cross culturally, but sometimes are reflected a little differently through the objects we design.

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Several days passed in Eureka Springs, as we spent the last few nights here on the trip. A walk down to the museum, a visit to Basin Springs to write, to listen, and to watch passers by. A tour on a tram from an excellent host and a stop by another spring underground, where a fault line runs through the ceiling of the cave in which it exists.

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There is beauty here, I think to myself, artistry, separation, though visited by many. It was, to say the least, a good place to stop and spend a few days before returning home.

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The last night we sat on a balcony, several floors up in the Crescent hotel, enjoying pizza for dinner while below people played chess on a life-sized board. I wondered if I really wanted to go back to the farm and ranch. It’s the way of the world that we wish to leave sometimes only to later wish we had stayed. For some life is the road; for others it’s settling down that an entire life is spent in search of. It’s a good reminder to be thankful for what we have in any moment in time.

 

October 25th, 2017

Finally arriving home I felt tired and renewed, though concerned about the hurricane approaching the Texas coast. Weeks passed by with new interest and renewed inspiration. But as the months have passed, and several hurricanes later, I’ve had time to reflect on the current state of affairs, those omens and storms that clouded the beginning of the trip, and the light that aided in another step toward a better tomorrow.

I’ve spent most of the entire day in a chair on the front porch, thinking about this final post that’s been written and rewritten several times to close out the Totality series of blog posts. Thinking of something that might come across as positive is rather difficult while fighting a negativity that is as reflected in the news as it is in my thoughts at times.

Several squirrels have hopped within a few feet of my feet, and a roadrunner has done the same, running back to the woods quickly like someone who has just seen something they can’t wait to tell another about. Another bird lit in a tree and raised quite a ruckus when I tried to watch a show rather than write. So I return to writing only to have some pesky fly attempt to keep me from these final words; where are the swallows when you need them? Nature and it’s representatives, always at odds to a certain degree.

It is easy to become so influenced by the snapshots of lives we meet, read, or hear about that failing to take into account what we don’t know as opposed to what we do can prove as detrimental as advantageous. Though it is easy to define what we don’t know by any one moment, it is not who we were or necessarily who we are going to be that should always define how we try to see each other. This nation of ours was not founded to be just “a” people, and it isn’t ruled by anointed anything. It was founded by “We” the people, for the people, from a variety of backgrounds and is represented by a variety of ethnicities, beliefs, nationalities and preexisting indigenous influences. When our citizens of varying ages destroy statues, shoot into crowds at concerts, people going to church, at clubs, or at people simply watching a movie, and at children going to school, it isn’t time to evaluate our freedoms, it’s time to evaluate our behavior and responsibility to each other. Statues that offend don’t need to be destroyed here any more than carved stones honoring religious icons overseas, but maybe it is time to retire them to museums for those who appreciate them to still enjoy, and for the peace of mind of our nation’s past transgressions for those who take offense. Freedom of speech doesn’t need to be regulated to only those who don’t offend, and freedoms removed in the name of security always need a sunset clause. But enough of these few opinions of mine on these matters.

I began this road trip to Missouri just to witness the solar eclipse with my mom from within the path of totality, even with warnings issued from the NAACP to travelers headed there, and with the tragedy at Charlottesville fresh on America’s mind. But I’ve received an education in so much more: from the conversations in diners to those that take place through thin hotel walls at night; from a state whose fields are (in part) defined by roads and fences to those defined primarily by roads and topography alone; from a majority of negative attitudes to a majority of smiling people. Climates in their varieties can have a great influence on perception, as well as behavior, along with experience, biology, and illness.

As the last few months edge toward the end of 2017, I can’t imagine this has been an easy year for everyone. I could not have picked a worse year to have attempted to exist with this illness without medication, but it has shown me what is possible more than what isn’t, and to be reminded of how much better life is when shared with others than when separated and alone.

I hope our nation is always one of independent parts that make up a whole, perhaps in the way the sun and the moon align to form a total solar eclipse, with a combined light that is unique in its aligned cast, but far longer lived.

There are wounds we’ve yet to heal in this nation. May we make better choices in the future with what we choose to fill those wounds with.

 

Thanks for reading,

Alan