Pure Joy


Hanging out at Highland Ridge all “summer.”  And yes, my wife just realized it — that we will have been here from the beginning of summer until the end of summer. ALL SUMMER. There have been moments during our sty when life has been tedious.joy  There have been moments when we have been a little bit put-out with campers or ourselves. There have been moments when we have been soggy with rain or a little concerned about the trees waving in the breeze.  But mostly we have been happy.  Beyond happy.  Happy for no reason — just because we like this place and existing here is easy.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  No harder than that.

The other day we took a road trip — just a little one — and we had driven 10 miles down some particular road that our GPS told us to take on the “Shortest Route” to where we were going.   I looked over at the street sign and wanted burst out laughing.  Where were we?  On 1/2 street!

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I’m not sure where the OTHER 1/2 of this street was, but we were only on 1/2 of it, I guess.

Streets and roads in the country are odd boundaries between people. Naming them — some time back in the dim dark past — must have been an exercise for humans of little or no imagination.  It seems every city (not towns though) in the nation has a Washington Street. And a Broadway as well.  They may not always be prominent streets but they seem always to have been thrown into the mix.

Then there are the numbered streets.  Miles from anywhere we find 280th street, and 320th street.  Where — I ask myself — are they counting from — or where are they counting to? Hudson is population 8,000, River Falls is population 15,000 — there aren’t enough people to need 320 streets!!!!!  Yet we have them.

I marvel at city names.  Who would think that there would be 4 states with cities/towns name Ottumwa?  It’s not like that’s a name that comes tripping off the tonque spontaneously.  Then again what about multiple cities in the same state with the identical name:  For example two Hendersons in Minnesota, and two Washington Townships in New Jersey?  Couldn’t people come up with another name for one of them? And it’s not just the familiar words they used to name commonly named streets, the names can be quite obscure.

Years ago I learned never to remember where I had been using street names.  Too many streets by the same name in too many different states.  So I started using landmarks for memory tools.  Then landmarks bit me in the butt!  I realized I’d lived long enough for people to tear down my landmark and put up new buildings; thus ruining my entire glossary of places I’ve been and things I’ve seen in my life.

Now I use my GPS.

But of course my GPS has a hard time with fractions.  She (the voice on our GPS) calls 1/2 street simply “One Two street.”  A couple years ago we were driving in Minneapolis on 3M street — near the home of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing’s headquarters — of course no longer called that, but known now as 3M.  The GPS tried to tell us where to go on “M, M, M street”  and I had no idea what she was talking about. County highways E, W, S, & N are no longer the letters “E”, “W”, “S” or “N” they have become County Highway East, and County Highway West, etc.  You have to learn a new vocabulary to talk with your GPS machine.

Right now we’re in a good place.  I keep telling myself I need to start locking in a couple nights for our trip south but we are still in limbo about whether we are going to travel by way of Elkhart for the purpose of talking with a remodeler about flooring and our salesman is off at a Trade Show until August 10th — so the questions I need to ask him I can’t pose until he returns to the office.  So, the decision to go there, which impacts the route, which impacts where to spend the night are all up in the air.  And to be honest, I don’t know why I keep beating this flooring horse.  There is no reason we need to do anything but I’m restless about it and I won’t be satisfied until I have fully researched it even if we end up doing nothing at all.  Talk about being OCD about some things.  My dad always said I had a “one track mind.”

It’s fun to take a day trip with no destination, and no objective.  A day out for no reason other than to enjoy life. It’s fun to be moved by whimsy, to be amused by absurdity and non sequitur, to be sobered by glimpses of reality.  It’s OK just to enjoy life;  to feel pure joy for no particular reason.  Life is amazing.  Why not enjoy it.

Thanks for stopping, and I’m out of here for today.  Talk to you again tomorrow!

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