Today, I was driving to an event sponsored by my place of employment. It was a foraging hike about 80 miles away from where I live. It’s been a busy week, so last night I finally got around to writing the introduction I was going to say prior to hiking. As I drove, I was struck by a couple of different things.
One was that I live in a very beautiful state! I know that most people probably feel this way about their state of residence but the fact that I think it when I am a transplant here, is somewhat remarkable. I live in Wisconsin but am from Western New York. The area I am from is very similar to here in terms of geography and topography. We have similar latitudes, deciduous and coniferous forests, a temperate climate (four seasons) which can swing widely between very hot summers and very cold winters. Surprisingly, I also found out a while back that these two places – the one I am from and the one I now live – are also connected by the Niagara Escarpment! You can read about that revelation in a previous post but, what I am trying to say is that while I’ve been lucky to call both places home, I think Wisconsin is much more beautiful than New York. (Sorry, friends and family back East!)
I am just constantly struck by the beauty here. Admittedly, however, it might just be because I am at a stage in my life when I notice it more! (New York is still beautiful!) Still, this morning, while traversing the winding roads and greening hillsides, the aesthetics of Wisconsin impressed me yet again! While I had never been where I was going, I was certainly enjoying the sense of place that washed over me during my travels.
With my cell phone GPS guiding my progress, my mind was free to appreciate the surrounding countryside. Casey Kasem American Top Forty Countdown from 1980 was on the radio. I was singing along to Pat Benatar, Frank Sinatra, and my favorite – The Carpenters! Let’s just say I was enjoying my morning ride.
But, I am a naturally anxious person. The mindfulness provided by the ride did not last long. I shut off the radio and decided to practice the introduction I had written the night before. After all, practice makes perfect! Right?! So, out loud I began reciting the introductions instead of singing pop culture songs from my past.
I ran through the introduction once, twice, three times. Not bad, for A Lady! I had stumbled a little at the beginning but soon I felt a flow develop to what I was saying as I drove. Yes, I thought to myself, this will go fine.
Wait! What?! I think I missed a turn! Sure, enough, I glanced at my GPS and it was recalculating! I had missed Cross Cut Road! (Which ended up being an unnecessary diversion.) Anyway, I slightly panicked and turned around. The panicking was only brought on by the fact that my phone does not use data very well, and sometimes, when connection is lost – it is LOST! But, I did have written directions, so if it did not recalculate, I would be okay – just a little later than I wanted to be.
Sure enough, I was soon back on a route that popped back onto my GPS. Whew! Good. I told myself, I would practice a little more but not until I had a stretch of road that lasted for over ten miles. Sure, enough after a few turns, I was on such a stretch.
There is a tiny bit more to the story, in that I drove right by the desired destination because I did not trust my GPS. But, after another 2-3 miles out of the way, and another turnaround, I was still the first to arrive to the event site.
And, although my delivered introductions did not go exactly as I had rehearsed, they seemed to do the job. It was a beautiful day. I am glad I was outside to appreciate it!