Whenever life gets too hectic, I find myself wanting a place of solace, so I can get out of running mode, and into relaxing mode. Many of us don’t realize that our lives are even hectic. We just think it’s normal, and maybe it is, but normal can be very hectic. My Uncle Bill understood how I feel, because he felt the same way too…and he was a kid!! We mistakenly assume that kids can’t have a hectic life, or that things weren’t hectic in days gone by, when life was supposed to be so much more simple. Maybe things were simple back then, but that did not make things easier back then. What takes us minutes to do these days, probably took them hours, making it necessary to cram more things into a working day than we do today. And yet, with our modern inventions, our lives today are always making us rush from this place to that place…always in a hurry.
It’s no wonder that I, like my Uncle Bill, enjoy getting out into nature to hike the trails. When you are out on the trail, you can only go so fast, and it’s harder to rush yourself. The beauty of nature around you draws your attention away from the pressing things in your life, and you find yourself drinking in the smells of the trees and flowers, the singing of the birds, the sound of the breeze through the trees, the beauty of the scenes around you, and the feel of the air on your face. It is the place I want to be and the things I want to be doing. When Bob and I are out on the trail, being one with nature, it is such a beautiful time. And in our hectic lives, we need those breaks to recharge our systems. The trails are perfect for that.
Uncle Bill loved to be out in the woods of Wisconsin and Minnesota, mostly around Holyoke, Minnesota. He talks about going to his private place in the center of a shaded area, to sit on a log, listen to the birds, watch the squirrels, and “even” read a book. I have to wonder if Uncle Bill maybe didn’t like reading very much at that time. It wouldn’t be something so unusual for a boy. Most of them seem to busy with other things to consider reading as an important pass time. Nevertheless, whatever solace we each find in nature is probably unique to each of us. No two people are the same, and no two people have the same stresses, so each finds solace in different things or in different ways, even in the same place.
My cousin sent me some pictures a couple of days ago and boy, did they bring back some memories. One in particular struck me, mostly because of the difference in the times…and the things you can and can’t do today. My dad’s brother, Bill and his family used to come for visits, and we would go there for visits when we were little kids. One of our favorite things to do was to picnic on Casper Mountain. It is a beautiful place and it’s nearby. We have always loved going on the mountain. The summer air is cooler there, and fresh with the smells of pine. The birds are singing and the breeze whispers through the tree tops. I could stay up there for a long time.
Back then, Dad had an old green pickup truck, and whenever we all went somewhere in the truck, all of us kids got to ride in the back of the truck. Now, I know that people don’t usually ride in the back of a truck any more, and maybe it isn’t the safest idea, but back then it was the normal way to go. On any given day, you might see a dozen or more people driving around with the kids in the back of the truck, and I don’t remember ever hearing about anyone getting hurt or killed, although I’m sure it happened. Nevertheless, when we were going to go up on the mountain, they loaded all of us kids up in the back of the truck and the adults in front. And away we went.
We had a great time riding back there, with the wind in our hair…and none of us cared if our hair was a wreck after that ride either. Dad would drive up the mountain, and then stop at Lookout Point so we could see how beautiful the city was from up there. The night views were the best of course, because the city lights always looked like a jewelry box. The picnic and the city views were great, but I will always remember the wonderful rides in the back of Dad’s truck, probably because we got to do more of those. Of course, looking back, and knowing the safety risks today, I wouldn’t let my kids or grandkids ride there, but we didn’t know that then, and I guess God just watched out for us, because we obviously lived through it. Kind of like not having seat belts in the car, and rolling onto the floor at a sudden stop. We didn’t think of it being unsafe…just funny. I guess it was just the times we lived in.