Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics, “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountains majesties About the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!” to describe the United States of America. The depth of these lyrics have never truly resonated with me until this past summer. I had the opportunity to witness many of the wonderful things that Bates described in America the Beautiful and it made me much more appreciative to be able to live in such a gorgeous country.
I spent my summer in Mead, Colorado and the surrounding area. The countryside is much different than I am used to seeing in my home state of Indiana. In Indiana, we have corn and more corn. What I loved about Colorado was that they still had cornfields, but beyond the cornfields were the Rocky Mountains. The sight of the peaks in the distance was simply breathtaking. I was lucky enough to be able to drive up Trail Ridge Road and experience life from above. The view from 11,796 feet above sea level reduced me to tears.
While I was out West, I celebrated my eighteenth birthday and received the best present in the world. I got to visit my uncle’s ranch in Pinedale, Wyoming. I asked my uncle to take me on a horseback ride and it was a ride I will never forget. As we galloped through the fields, all I could feel was blessed. With my hair blowing in the wind, I have never felt so liberated. We also went on an ATV adventure. While we were exploring, I saw many fantastic creatures, but there was one that was sincerely amazing. A bald eagle, a symbol of our freedom, soared overhead. It was then that I realized how fortunate I am to be able to call myself an American.
My absolute favorite thing to do in Colorado and Wyoming was to lay outside under the stars. It is much different than when I do it in Indiana. Out West, the stars appear close enough to reach out and touch them. The proximity to the sky that I felt was amazing. It was the perfect setting to think about all of the blessings in my life and to thank God for allowing me to witness his gorgeous creation.
Although I adore Indiana, living in Colorado opened my eyes to a whole other world that exists within the same country. It has so much to offer that a person can not help falling in love with it. The diversity of the American landscape is awe-inspiring and unable to be fully appreciated unless seen first hand. That is why I am not only thankful for my month spent in Colorado, but also my life spent in the United States of America.
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