It is one thing to realize who you are while sitting in your kitchen with a half-eaten bagel grasped loosely in one hand and the sports section of the newspaper in the other. It’s quite another to realize who you are while standing in the place where the continent is divided in half, breathing in air that is much too thin and staring at a sky that is filled with blinding light as the sun rises. It is where everything comes together: the rivers, the mountains, the country itself. And for me, it’s where I came together as a person.
Three years ago, my family and I embarked on a road trip across the western side of the
Of course, this type of vacation is always a set-up for disaster. On days where there was nothing to amuse us, we often got on each other’s cases for no reason aside from the fact that it provided some sort of distraction. We argued, we fought. I found myself feeling more homesick with each day that passed, and I spent more than a few nights crying because of it. I wanted to be home. I wanted my own bed. But more than that, I wanted familiarity. The West was a strange place to me; I had never seen anything like it before, and in some way, it was frightening after the initial wonder wore off.
But there were moments when it was all worth it. All of the strain between my family, the longing to be home, the monotony of driving in a cramped car when the only radio station to be found played nothing but John Denver – all of the stress would melt away in the face of beauty. We came across a rare herd of wild horses in the middle of the
I realized many things about myself on that trip. Most obvious was the lesson that I’m not a person who enjoys being away from home for long periods of time. However, I learned more than that: I discovered that I am a person who finds beauty in the mundane. The smallest thing can become a spiritual experience for me, whether I try to make it one or not. And this came to me as I was standing in the place that divides the continent in two, staring out at a sight that other cars hurtled by without a second glance, never knowing what they were missing.
To me, it was beautiful. I had found myself.
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