Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is the life...

I have had several "dream lifestyles" over the years, including - during the 70s when John Denver was at the height of his career - living in a log cabin in the mountains, splitting firewood, hiking through the snow, and gazing up at the Elk standing along the ridge of a snowcapped mountain. Marcia's video reminded me of that childhood fantasy.

But I've already done that.

I lived in Europe, travelled by bus to Paris, ate all the Weinerschnitzel and Brochen I could possibly stand. Even had a little German "bier" and wine now and then, although I was 11 at the time, so really it was just a sip or two at a time. (No drinking age or speed limit for that matter in Germany.) We had black forest cake at a little eatery at the Black Forest.

I've been swimming in the most beautiful lake (imho, of course) in the United States. Sat outside a cottage in Northern Michigan with my bare feet in the greenest, silkiest blades of grass you ever saw. Built sandcastles, waded in muck, fished off the dock. All of that was glorious and I felt a sense of connection since my parents and their parents had been born and raised in the region.

I've lived among the rednecks and among the elite. Been in the suburbs and spent time in the cities. I've ridden in the subways of NYC and D.C. Strolled along the walkways of D.C.'s grassy mall and the, erm, colorful streets of Greenwich Village. (To be clear, I didn't live in either place, but spent enough time there to feel satisfied.) Got lost in Radio City Music Hall. (There was this elevator - my friend and I lost our group and got in the elevator - it had no buttons. It must have had a camera though, because a stern-looking, uniformed security guard sent us back down where we belonged.)

I've plowed my way through cotton fields (shortcut on the way home from school) and meandered on horseback through parts of the Blue Ridge mountain range in Alabama. Rode the rides at Opryland in Nashville and waited in lines at Disney World in Orlando. I vaguely remember going to Busch Gardens too, but they didn't have many rides. (I was a kid, so this was a disappointment.) I stayed with my grandparents in their little Florida retirement neighborhood, played shuffleboard and rode on an adult-sized tricycle (very cool!). Stayed in one of those little houses up on stilts on the beach of the Gulf Shore. Squinted at the white, white sand beaches at Pensacola. Spent Spring Break at Panama City Beach (not the college-kids' spring break, thank heavens.)

I've eaten steak, had tequila and purchased handmade wares at bargain-basement prices in Juarez. Spent the night in El Paso. Drove past what looked like a huge fire in the desert (it was Houston). Luxuriated in a hotel in Dallas. (There was a phone in the bathroom. I guess you could do business while you do your business, if you know what I mean.)

Drove through Missippi on a motorcycle in the rain in springtime.

Took the streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco.

Danced in the ballroom at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.

Witnessed birth. Gave birth. Walked down the aisle. Mourned death. Trained a puppy. Trained a child. Said goodbye. Introduced myself to strangers. Survived perils. Rejoiced in victory.

But in a few minutes, I'll close this laptop, greet my sweeties at the door, crank out some supper, watch Wheel of Fortune or America's Funniest Home Videos, pray with my daughter before bedtime, and spend some time reading my Bible before I go to bed. Because writing this post has reminded me that I have a lot to thank God for - including living my ideal lifestyle, right now, at this moment, in an ordinary house in an ordinary town.


Jenn Hollowell said...

What an inspirational post. I really need to show gratitude more often. I used to make lists in my journal of all the things I'm grateful and thankful for. I don't know why I've gotten out of the practice. Thank you for the gentle reminder to do so once again.

Bonnie D. Tharp said...


You are a very lucky woman. I, too, am thankful for my many blessings. Thank you for the reminder though of how beautiful our world is and "most" of its inhabitants. Personally, babies, kids, and puppies are my personal favorite - they make everything so magical and fun. Plus they keep me young. Thank you again for sharing.

Carolyn Erickson said...

Thanks for your comments Jenn and Bonnie.

Jenn, I used to keep a prayer journal that had a place to write down when the prayer was answered, which was really cool. I should do that again! I don't think we always recognize how much God can and does bless us.

Bonnie, I love kids and babies and dogs too. They are happy about the simplest things. What a great lesson!