Traveling Light

Grain Elevator in Floydada, Texas
Some readers will remember this story. It’s sweet and quirky, and so amusing I occasionally re-read it just for the smiles it brings. I hope this re-post brings you a smile, too. If anyone has a better travel story at the end of the summer, I’d surely love to hear it.

Floydada, Texas is cotton country, though it’s known for pumpkins, too, and likes to bill itself as the Pumpkin Capital of the US.

It’s a flat and expansive land, a land of impossibly distant horizons and days barely distinguished one from another. Strangers develop a habit of looking around, as if to orient themselves. Even those who’ve grown up with the wind, the dust, and the storms say it aloud now and then: “This place will run you nuts if you let it.” Continue reading

With God on Our Side, Redux


This election night, as I watched MSNBC’s television coverage, followed a few liberals around battleground states on Twitter and read through an assortment of conservative blogs, I began to experience the equivalent of political vertigo.

As the evening progressed, two very different views of Barack Obama’s election began to emerge from the dizzying swirl of images.  One focused on the historic moment, not only celebrating a partisan victory and the election of our nation’s first Black President, but also reflecting on the journey of a nation that once accepted slavery as the norm.  In the opinion of others, Obama’s election betokened the erosion of traditional American values, the economic collapse of the United States, and perhaps the fall of Western Civilization itself at the hands of a nattily-dressed and smooth talking anti-Christ.

Several phrases I encountered last night distressed me.  One was that America is “getting what we deserve”.  It was meant to be a perjorative statement, implying that a misguided, stubborn, and possibly evil nation is being punished by God for our misdeeds and thoughts.  Quite apart from the question of whether God would punish an entire nation of Jobs for the political sins of a few, there’s a certain humor in the thought of Barack Obama as God’s chosen agent of destruction.  

But not everyone is amused.   Some express their frustration with the enormity of our problems and the rapidity of the changes overtaking our nation by saying, “This is not the America I grew up in”.   And they’re right.  It isn’t.  But our parents said the same thing, and their parents before them.  Society isn’t a museum but a living organism, constantly changing in response to the forces that ebb and flow around it.  Romanticizing the past is tempting, but re-creating the past is impossible.  Life moves forward, not back, and our destination is the future. Continue reading