I have spent the last 5 days exploring a part of Texas I have never been to before. I have lived in Texas 29 years (yikes!!), and in those 29 years, I have never been to what is referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”, also known as Big Bend National Park, in West Texas. Until now.
I want to point out that I left for my trek to Big Bend very early last Friday morning……. a morning that came after a terrible tragedy in a city very close to where I live…..Dallas, Texas. The night before I left for West Texas, 5 Dallas police officers where murdered by a maniacal gunman. It was devastating news on top of the ever increasing daily devastating news of inhumane treatment of people, of senseless shootings of innocent people, of hate and insanity. Let’s face it, our country and our world is hurting at the moment, and spiraling in a way that none of us have experienced in many, many years…..if ever!
Like you, I am looking for the right words to express my feelings of the state of our country and our world at the moment, but they are hard to find. I am not sure such words exist. But, even though I am in search of such words, I continue to focus on the love out there. On the good that is happening every day. I will always focus on that, and never on the worst case scenario……anyway, back to my trip to West Texas……..
As we drove to West Texas, the landscape pretty much consisted of dirt and desert. There is not much variation as you head west, so as we drove into Big Bend National Park, I pretty much expected it to be much the same. Oh how wrong I was! Yes, when you first enter the park, it is pretty much desert and cacti, but then all of a sudden, there are majestic mountains in the background that create a backdrop in the sky that makes your mouth drop. Mountains of all different shapes and sizes, with canyons and crevices just waiting to be explored. My mom was with us for this trip, and she started a game for all of us that consisted of who could find the different “faces” and “creatures” in the mountain terrain. We all laughed as we shouted out the different things we saw carved into the mountain (some we agreed with and some we just looked at that person and thought “okaaaaaayyyy……”)…. 😉 Yes, it was a good time had by all! But, it was A LOT of desert! Miles and miles of desert. Now as one who thinks the coast of Northern California is the most beautiful place on earth (I am definitely more a tall pine tree and ocean type of girl), I kept thinking to myself, “well, it’s pretty, but it is just so much the same……so much desert”, and honestly, I was thinking “what’s the big deal about Big Bend”??!!……..until we turned down the road to a place called Chisos Basin……
One turn down a road and the landscape completely changed. It turned from dry desert to lush green trees and flowering bushes. It was hard to believe that we were in the same park as before with the stark difference in landscape. I must admit, this area of the park soothed my soul much more than the desert and cacti, but together they make up this National Park that so many people put on their “bucket lists”……and now I get it. It truly is a breathtaking part of Texas.
Now, as we spent our time exploring West Texas, we had very limited cell reception. There was no daily news that we read. There was no exposure to all the political rhetoric, to all the hate, to all the senseless crimes happening. Nope. None of that. We spent 5 days pretty much in “radio silence”, and I must say…..it was REALLY nice! It also made me think how much I enjoyed the variation of the park and how disappointed I would have been if the entire park was full of desert and cacti. There just isn’t much excitement in exploring if everything looks the same! Anyone with me on this?
Then, I started thinking about all the hate happening in our world due to all the “differences” we seem to focus on. I started thinking how glad I was that we ARE all different. How absurd it is to think that our world would be better off being only desert and cacti, or only being tall pine trees and ocean. WE NEED DIFFERENT! We need different to appreciate. We need different to be knowledgeable. We need different to create excitement. We need different to learn. We need different to have experiences. We need different because being all the same is boring.
Why is this so hard for all of us to embrace? Why is different so scary? Why is different so offensive? Why is different so hateful?
Yes, I choose to look back on my last 5 days in thankfulness. Thankful that I got to experience the stark differences of West Texas’s landscape. Thankful for all the people in my life who come from so many different places in life. Thankful for so many different experiences (good and bad) that I have gone through in my life that helped create the person I am today. Yes, thankful for all of it. For knowing that different is very good. Not only very good, but needed!
I challenge you today my friend to seek out the different. Embrace the different you come across. Love the different you encounter. After all, the same of anything (people, places, landscape, things….) are so very boring!