6 May 2013
I am clinging to the door handle of my Dad’s truck, eyes shut, as if my grip could keep the vehicle on the bumpy, narrow road. My Dad and Mom have placed us in the truck and camper, for a weekend family camping trip. After several hours (which seems like days), my Dad stops the truck at the top of the last rise of the winding, mountain track. He breathes deeply and says, “Wow. This view always takes my breath away. Just look at God’s beautiful creations!” I too take a deep breath, but mine is to alleviate the panic I know I am going to feel as soon as I see the steep escarpment, which I silently pray won’t be the reason for our untimely demise. I will myself to look. In front of me is a gray-white mountainside which drops off severely to valleys on both sides of the road. Scrubby looking grass is dotted sparsely across the top of the mountain. My eyes follow the road downward to the right, as it parts the dusty, rocky, mountain. Suddenly, I see magnificence. The valley below me is blanketed in waves of green meadow grass. On one side of the gulley stands a tall army of Ponderosa pine trees, sentinels of this forest island. Lying idle in the sun at the bottom of this valley is a beautiful body of lake, a turquoise jewel.
While I am admiring the picturesque basin, my Dad points to our left and commands us, “Look there!” I turn my gaze to view yellow-brown and red-clay plateaus, distant purple mountains, and a vast, barren, uninhabitable desert. As I am gazing, my Dad declares, “This is definitely God’s country.” Have I misunderstood him? Here are two contrasting views from one mountain height. Could both be beautiful? To this child, the lake, amid grass dotted with wildflowers of red, purple and yellow, with the pine trees which surround the valley, is the winner of nature’s beauty pageant. Yet, my Dad has called the desert scene beautiful also. In my mind, there could not be two winners. We drive on, and the question in my mind is not settled.
Many years later, I disembark my car at the same crest on the mountain. I look over both valleys, realizing how much I have missed this panorama, the desert plateaus on one hand, the verdant valley on the other. This viewpoint is magnificent, literally breathtaking. Seeing it through my wiser, adult eyes, I realize this is the most beautiful spot in the world. I declare to my Dad, who is standing with my children, “This is definitely God’s country!”
Myrna wrote: Oh, Melanie, dear heart. It is perfect as it is. I had an editor once who said that enough words needed to be used to cover the subject but short enough to keep the reader's attention. I think the quote is more like: essays are like skirts--long enough to cover the subject short enough to make it interesting.
I shed a few tears. I agree with your teacher. You should have high marks and an A+.
I love you. I am so proud of you.
Dad is napping after mowing the grass. I printed it off for him to read.
Leonard wrote: Thanks for sharing this with us. I am proud of you and your writing brought back many happy memories. I am asking your mother to share this with all of your siblings. I wanted your mother to send this on. Thanks for writing this, Melanie.
Shawn wrote: Thanks. I loved it Melanie. You are so gifted and lack nothing in comparison to the scene described.
Kirsten wrote: Where's the "like" button?!!!!