“It only takes one person to change your life– you.”Ruth Casey
I like to go for drives. To explore new places. To revisit familiar places.
I woke up on Tuesday, and decided it was a good day to take a drive. I left the neighborhood and got on the expressway and then another one, and then merged onto Hwy 94 West, which I always think should be called South, but my directional logic defies understanding. Let’s just say I drive by intuition most days.
It’s an overcast day, drizzly. The radio is cranking out tunes from “the best of the 80s” and I’m enjoying the scenery, escaping from reality for a few hours. I stop at the red light, where the interstate intersects the highway, I’m in the right lane and need to merge over, so when the light turns, I accelerate and pass the other cars to gain my lane, crooning to some tune, and in my peripheral vision, I notice the turn to the conservation area. In that instant memories of years past parade through my mind, as I try to hold back tears and drive at the same time.
I recall the many biking adventures on the Katy trail, fishing with my friend at the conservation lakes, driving to the local wineries, and spring break adventures with our boys and their friends. Marveling at the redbuds blossoming, sweaty humid bike rides with a group of friends, dancing with wild abandon at the winery with friends on their birthdays. Driving the support van, so my sister and her kids could bike to Klondike Park for a camping adventure.
All these memories sweep over me like a flash flood. I let the tears wash my face, intrigued. How driving down a familiar road evokes a deep gratitude for all the memories. Memories made in a place I never imagined living, but which has firmly rooted itself in my soul.
I regain my composure, and notice a sign: Scenic View. When I’m with other travelers, the spontaneity of veering off the charted path happens rarely. I am solo today, so I pull off to check out the view. Before I hop out of my car, I notice a text from my niece. We have a nice chat, and I share the view with her via a photo, because I know she loves green things, and the green has arrived in all its late spring splendor. I try to descend the trail, but the path is slippery and I decide its not worth falling. I take in the view one last moment, and get back to driving.
I packed art supplies, snacks and some books to browse for when I arrive at Klondike Park. I’m almost to Defiance, when I see the sign for Daniel Boone Historic Home. Have I ever been? I’ve always wanted to go. Memory doesn’t serve me any tidbits of previous visits. Only five miles off the highway; I’ll go.
I arrive and the parking lot has four or five cars. It’s post “stay at home” order, but social distancing is still in place, and I’m a little worried about protocols. I tell myself I need to do this. I need to figure out how to live within the parameters. I walk towards the entrance with mask in hand. A gentleman welcomes me, and points out the restrooms. I am surprised that the restrooms are open, but grateful. My social self has been craving conversation, so I volunteer that it’s my first time here, and I’ll put on my mask if he wants me to, and he asks do I want to tour the house. I say, sure. He says a ticket is $8.00. I say, why not? I approach the gift shop, a sign says one person at a time. That’s good, I’m the only person there. They have a reasonable process in place to safely buy a ticket with no contact. I mess up, but the woman behind the counter gently redirects me. It’s hard to hear words through masks. I tell her I’ll come back after the tour and buy a soda. I also had my eye on a hand made walking stick. (For future hikes.)
My tour is at 10:00am, so I walk the grounds enjoying the buildings placed around the grounds. Buildings from the 1800s. I amble my way up the path to the Boone home to meet my tour guide. He tells me his name is Dennis. Sinned spelled backwards. His joke; I laugh, thankful for humor and social interaction. (I tried to tell him earlier that I was suffering from social atrophy, but mistakenly said social apathy. Both are true.) I stand listening, while he shares from behind a roped off area. I soak in the history of the house and the other buildings on the property.
Next I’m invited to climb the three stories to the upper level, and enter to look at the rooms. “Feel free to holler down any questions from the balcony.” And so I do at each level. He invites me to go talk with the “gunsmith” who is on the premises today. All three of the guides were very friendly, and willing to answer questions. As I walked down, the woman from the gift shop was out for a stroll. We talked about the garden, and other buildings and the various artisans who share their demonstrations there. She invited me to check out the volunteer site, if I ever wanted to come out and work in the garden. I love learning, and this little side trip filled me up. The gunsmith, shared the history and changes that came for gunsmiths when the parts of the gun could be mass produced. He too, asked if I had any questions. It was nice to be asked.
I finished my tour. Stopped by the gift shop for my soda and the walking stick. As we went through the social distance dance for payment, I shared how I wanted to hike and Angel, that was the woman’s name, told me about some of her favorite spots. I only spent about an hour on this side trip, but it felt timeless and peaceful and my social muscles got a nice stretch.
In the car, I sipped my soda. I thought about retracing my path back to the main highway, but instead my intuition nudged me to take the road less traveled, the long way round to Klondike Park. The winding roads and open spaces revived my cramped soul. I arrived at the park, and parked in the lot near where I had camped a couple years ago with my sister and her kids. I even walked down to see our campsite. Fond memories.
I drove around the park stopping and getting out to stretch my legs and enjoy the various ponds, bluffs and facilities for a restroom break. The simple things like an open restroom changed my perspective. I could do this social distancing thing. I daydreamt about camping at Klondike Park again one day. I even checked if they had openings this week, but amazingly they are booked.
I came home ready to face whatever the future holds. Willing to stay at home, as indicated. Willing to wear a mask, as indicated. Willing to converse with strangers, who might also be angels.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.Hebrews 13:2 KJV