Where can you find peace and solitude, smell fresh air and the scent of flowers without traveling great distances or spending lots of money? In my case, it was my back yard. We had a weather front come through that cooled us off from the summer’s heat. Instead of the eighty or ninety degree weather, we had temperatures in the mid seventy’s during the afternoon. Even better, the humidity was low and the air crisp and clean. The weather was perfect for anything out doors. Some were washing cars, mowing grass, walking, or whatever. I live on a dead end street, with a corn field to the one side of the house and an empty field behind the house leaving me with privacy and only the birds to hear. Normally, I work on home projects on weekends, but this weekend, I took some time off.
Hooked between two medium sized trees was my hammock, a recent gift from my daughter. Before the gentle rocking sent me off to dream land, I looked up through the green leaves of the trees to see the beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds sliding bye and felt the warmth of the sun poking through from time to time. The breeze was fairly strong, enough that I covered myself with a light blanket. This was as good as sitting in the shade of a palm tree in Hawaii or on a beach in the Caribbean.
So this got me thinking about that piece of heaven each of us may have right in front of us, a swimming pool, deck, shade trees, mountain, lake or ocean views, horses, boats, or all – terrain vehicles, whatever. Many of us have something that gives us some of the same physiological and psychological comforts we get from vacations but right at home. Take time to enjoy what you have. Most of us who travel love to get away, seek out new adventures and experience new things, but I think most of us look forward to returning home. Enjoy your piece of heaven.
I was fortunate to spend an evening with a family on an island in Lake Titicaca, living and eating as they did. We arrived in time for dinner, chicken noodle soup, potatoes and tea. Summer time was still very cool at night so we slept with lots of blankets. It was the first time I slept on a rope bed and a mattress made of straw. It may not have been a Certa Perfect Sleeper, but I was tired and slept well. For entertainment we went to a local gathering place to dance. That was interesting for someone who doesn’t dance. The next morning we had something between a pancake and a tortilla with jam and hot tea; very delicious.
Being on an island in a remote part of the world, central heat, air conditioning, phones and electricity are a rarity. Our host had two solar panels that provided light in the evening and some sources for electricity. The cost was expensive and my understanding was that it would take him about 14 years to pay off the cost of both panels. Through our interpreter I asked why our host invested in the solar panels. His response was the same as you would expect from a middle class family in most countries. He wanted his son to have a better life. This was one of the common denominators between my host and me despite our differences in culture, belief systems, life style and geographical location.
This summer my wife and I traveled to Dodgeville, WI to attend a wedding. We stayed at the recommended hotel, the Don Q Inn. We arrived late and were so tired that we missed the 1951 C-97 Stratofreighter parked in front of the hotel on a slight bluff. However, in the morning we were surprised to see this apparition. It has an interesting history, being primarily used as a military transport, and photographed in two television commercials with Farrah Fawcett. This C-97 was part of a fleet of aircraft produced by Boeing. They were used in the Berlin Airlift, Korean and Vietnam wars. Some were made as luxury liners for public transportation.
It was an amazing piece of history that I didn’t expect to find at a wedding in rural Wisconsin, but I am glad I did.