THE EMPTY PLACES

Before kicking things off this morning I need to respond to a comment made by Lee yesterday. I am rather confident that many folks share his concerns and frustrations.
The Route 66 International Festival meeting on Tuesday evening was an invitation only affair. This was not devised as a means to exclude anyone.
To date there was a very noticeable lack of coordination between event managers and city officials. The goal of this meeting was to rectify that problem, which would then allow for an appeal for public assistance to come from a goal focused point rather than a chaotic and vague one. 
Lee, please drop me an email. Your help is needed.
This mornings post was inspired by the reading of an article in the recent issue of Readers Digest (did I mention that Ghost Towns of Route 66 will get a plug in that publication soon?). 
The essence of the article was that the definition of happy changes as we age. In youth happy is often linked with new experiences or acquisitions. By middle age calm and quiet becomes the new happy, at least according to this story.

The desert near Burro Creek,
Arizona.

 

Thoughts like this confuse me. Forty is the new thirty. The new happy. What, exactly, does any of that mean? 
With the exception of the modern eras reluctance to let go of immaturity, forty isn’t thirty. Trust me on that one. And if your approaching fifty, I can also tell you that fifty-five isn’t the new forty.
Simply put, you can call a dog a cat, and believe it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is still a cat.
If that article has any basis in science then I must have hit middle age around age seven. Even though a stroll on the wild side has taken place a time or two, my happy place is, and has been for at least a half century, in quiet dinners with friends, and adventures in the empty places.
I must confess that when we first moved to the Arizona desert in the summer of ’66, the vast empty was just a bit unnerving. Up to that point in my life the empty places were shade dappled trails in the mountains of Alabama and in the forests of Michigan. 
As with so many things in life, once I moved beyond the apprehension it became increasingly apparent that it was the unknown,not the desert that filled me with unease. Today I find it difficult to imagine living someplace where the bare bones of the earth are hidden beneath grass and gnarled roots.
Don’t misunderstand, I enjoy the empty places in the forests as well as meadows but it is in the desert where I find that solace and calm that renews the mind and inspires the soul. So, even though I occasionally allow the imagination to paint pictures of us living in a quiet town with shaded streets, a stream flowing through the park at the edge of town, and an occasional frosting of snow, in my heart I know it is a flight of fancy. 
The desert with its empty places is my happy place. 

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