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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Peek-a-boo with Dad.

It's a dirt road switchbacking through the besieged Pennslobovian wilderness. The last island of natural wonder in the Commonwealth Sea of Humanity. And even it has an old trainbed converted to yuppie bike trail snaking through it. Ease of access. It lowers, cheapens the experience. One no longer has to work just to get here. Daytrippers can cruise up, snap their pictures and leave in a carbon monoxide fog and say they've been there, done that. They can be back in a "quaint" (their code word for anything not a Starbucks) coffee shop in less than a half an hour congratulating themselves for experiencing nature AND alternative cultures in the same day.

The dirt road has a number given it by the state. It also has a sign warning travelers that the road is not "maintained" (their code word for occasionally sending some guy up there with a chainsaw and a winch to get the fallen trees out of the way) for three months during the winter.
It was winter. Rascal and i drove right in.

That's right, we drove. We daytripped through with our cameras out the windows, like gang-bangers on foreign turf. It was our last day of camping and we had to get home. There was no more time for nature, money had to be earned, state-approved lesson plans had to be learned, so fuel and film were burned.

But we went slow. Not just because the dirt road is one lane of potholes, downed trees, crazy hairpins and sloped to boot. We wanted to go slow. It was the four-wheeled equivalent of dragging our feet. We may have been daytrippers, but we were Sunday daytrippers. There was so much to see in the golden, stained glass glow of sunlight through the leaves. Actually, there was really only one thing to see: trees. i can be realistic. We were in awe of dirt and trees but maybe what we were really in awe of was the artistic arrangement. God's a florist.

Then it would happen. i would stop. Put the Tick (my name for my little, black blazer) in reverse, back up and just sit in wonder. There were tears in the veil. Windows where the trees parted enough to see the valley below and the mountains beyond and gain a glimpse of the deeper, wider story through which we journeyed. An oh, so, narrow window into how the beauty up close fit into a beauty all around. How the vignettes fit into the epic. Vistas that made your breath catch. God is a showman. How i longed to get out and disappear on foot into that wonder. To explore, not at thirty five miles an hour. But at a mile a day. Or maybe even slower. To sit in it and give glory to it's Creator.

It's a desk in our living room/foyer/kitchen/office. i wanted to scan something into the computer. Some artwork. Just a quick sketch, all i have time for but make time for every day. My life is a regimented repetition of requisite responsibilities. i need art.

Then it happened. i stopped. i picked up the picture that Happ the Elder had drawn and left. An explosion of weirdness that wasn't an aching attempt at something he thinks he should draw and struggles with but a free expression of just something he thinks is cool. Incomprehensible and complete, cute and cartoonish yet wicked and sinister. Marveling, i continued on. Then, astoundingly, it happened again. i reversed. Backed up to the frame on the computer where Rascal the Younger had written the beginning of a story. It was him but so much different. An uncanny voice that i at once recognized but didn't. It was so much more mature than my eleven year old. There, in my daytrip, glimpses of the wider, wilder, deeper stories that i was journeying through. Vistas that make me catch my breath and want to get out of the rut and meander, explore and savor these creations, their creators and their Creator.

Maybe we can talk about that sometime in a quaint, little coffee shop.

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