Posted by: LucidMystery | May 14, 2008

I Need a Louis Armstrong Moment…

Did someone say vacation? Grab your swimsuits and sunglasses, it’s time for the beach! Palm trees, white sand, crystal water, fruity drinks in fun-shaped glasses with little paper umbrellas–what’s not to love about a tropical getaway? Sure you have to slather on the sun screen, and let’s face it, we Ohioans are just not that great at dealing with balmy climates, but still, when I think vacay, I think ocean.

That gets me wondering, though. We all run to Hawaii for a truly exotic trip…but where do the Hawaiians go? Beaches aren’t all that new and exciting for them; they would have to go somewhere else, even if it’s somewhere we think is boring. Can you just imagine Papa Haoa coming home from work and saying “All right, kids, this year for spring break, we’re going to Kansas!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Kansas is a great place to live. They might even have more cornfields than us (but, yeah, we still have the field of cement corn…we win), but Kansas isn’t somewhere we would think of going, right? What’s there to see? Flat grass lands conducive for tornado activity. Hmm, an interesting point though. All those prairie grasses aren’t the original prairie grasses. More than half of what’s out there now was introduced by humans. Score one for Homo sapiens. Does this seem off topic? Eh, maybe a tangent, but it’s exactly where I mean to go.

My point in all of this, to an extent, is to highlight how desensitized we become with the world around us. Midwesterners need to find a beach, New Englanders need to find a warm beach, Californians…ok they have it made. We want something different, something to shake us out of our slump. The crazy thing is, we all picture that somewhere else is better. I used to wonder if Hawaiians ever realize that they live in paradise, but then it dawned on me that they don’t! Yes, their vegetation is evergreen, and beautiful ocean surrounds them, and everyone from the mainland 48 want to visit there. Yet what about their volcanoes, constantly pouring out noxious fumes (if not spewing lava)? What about their tropical storms? Their earthquakes? Their mosquitoes? Their high UV light exposure due to living practically on the equator?

Actually…not gonna lie, the volcano part would be pretty sweet.

You know what, we Ohioans have it made! No, we don’t have evergreen vegetation. Instead, every fall we get to experience a blaze of colors glowing on all of our deciduous trees. During the winter, yeah it gets cold, but what is more beautiful than gently falling snow covering a house with icicles dangling from their eaves and porch rails? And during spring, we have a concentrated burst of color every which way you turn from blossoming flowers and newly sprouting plants. Ohio does have its beautiful side! No matter where you go, some feature, some time of year, or some amazing fact of every day life will leave you astounded.

At the risk of sounding trite and cliche, we really do live in a beautiful world. When I talk about wanting to visit every country, go on a massive vacation, and one day be able to say that I really have seen the world, it isn’t because I’m bored with Ohio. On the contrary! Being in Costa Rica for two weeks made me realize that although that there is incredible natural beauty elsewhere, we have it here too. Now when I say I want to see other places, it’s because I just want to know everything that is out there. Pictures can’t do justice for the Serengeti, or the Alaskan tundra, or the Hawaiian beaches. That’s something we have to see for ourselves.

But I needed to realize that just because I was desensitized to Ohio, that doesn’t mean there is nothing special about here. And to go one step further, I’m sure Kansas is breathtaking in its own right! Now, remember I said earlier that a lot of native prairie grasses are gone, but we’ll pretend they are still there. Imagine it’s nearing sunset. The world around you has a faint pink glow, and no matter which way you turn, there is nothing but the slight clover and violet covered hills of the prairie. Where only grasses grow, you could be waist high in the golden-green swaying leaves until suddenly you’re in an old buffalo wallow (or “fairy ring” as Laura Ingalls Wilder described them) where only short grasses and flowers grow. Throughout the wide open expanse, as free as the ocean, the only sound heard might be the slight whispering of the wind. Still think Kansas sound lame? Mmmk, now granted, this is me talking, and to everyone else, it might sound boring. But hey, I’d check it!

I guess this was all my roundabout way of saying two things: 1.) don’t be bored with where you are! Wherever you live, it’s exciting and different to someone else, if not to you. If you can’t see what’s magical about it, look harder. 2.) If you want to see the world (like me!), don’t do it because you think everywhere else is cooler. Our planet is full of crazy different experiences and places, but they aren’t better than each other. There is no rank of which country is the best. Most finanacially stable, yes; safest for tourists, yes; drives on the correct side of the road, yes. But the individuality of each culture is what makes experiencing a new one so exciting

Ok, I’m done rambling. In short, see the world, appreciate it, and praise God for His amazing creativity!

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