Friday, October 14, 2005

Sojourner

Not long after the night of the summer mountain flurry, we found ourselves standing on Independence Pass. The Pass is located on the Continental Divide, the geographical point where theoretically all rain falling to the west will run to the Pacific, and all rain falling to the east will run to the Atlantic and the Gulf. At a little over 12,000 feet above sea level, this was a remarkable place for lowlanders to be standing, and we asked a woman to take our picture by the elevation sign.

Afterwards, we began chatting idly as we shared the scenery. Her name was Louise. She was a soft-spoken woman, about our age. She was taller than I. Taller than the hub. She wore no makeup and her hair fell in casual buckskin waves around her shoulders. She spoke with a British accent.

In our chatting, we learned that she was on 4 month “holiday”. She told us that she had no plan of course, but was simply sojourning as the wind carried her, in the general direction of north – planning to follow the Rockies up through Wyoming, Montana, and into Canada. She would then wander over Banff way, back down the western seaboard, and eventually rendezvous with some friends in Northern California sometime in the fall. Her time in between then and now she left to the guidance of the gods of wanderlust.

My husband inquired, with the entire world to explore, what was it that would bring her to the States for essentially the entire trip. She told us that she’d done a lot of traveling. She’d been all over Europe and into Asia and Africa. She’d heard so much about America’s natural wonders, though, that she wanted to also come here. And that in all her travels, she had found an especially uncommon beauty and majesty in this place. She professed in earnest to us, that she loved the Rockies more than anywhere else she’d been.

I’ve thought upon our British traveling friend many times since we met her. I’ve wondered what other treasures she found after going on after our meeting. The hub and I love to travel, and before the arrival of Incrediboy we’d take several far-from-home trips a year. While our travels have kept us in the vicinity of the northwestern hemisphere, we’ve experienced a lot of extraordinary places and things. Since meeting Louise, I’ve thought about, if I could spend 4 uninterrupted months traveling anywhere, would I go abroad to places in far distant lands, or stay right here in our own country - a place which seems to have been crafted with an extra helping of the exceptional love and attention of God’s hands?

Before parting, we recruited another passer-by to take our picture with Louise. The picture came out fuzzy, and we appear as little more than blurred impressions. Our faces are not much more than smeared colors and shades, but there is one feature that is distinguishable.

We are all smiling.

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

Clew - I'd need a year. I'd HAVE to do Africa, and then of course Europe. And then I'd close it out with the good ol' US of A.... so much beauty here that I have yet to see, and hope to get to see at some point.

McSwain said...

I've traveled a lot myself, and I've found that for me, there is no place like home! We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country.