Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Year Resolution

We celebrated the New Year with our kids and six grandchildren. It was a blast … and tiring.  Great start of a new year, but this morning, when I had an opportunity to catch my breath, I realized I had already burned a month of the new year. Wasn’t it just a little while ago that computers threatened Armageddon at the turn of the century? Time flies, especially when you’re having fun. If slowing down time requires staying bored, I guess I’ll opt for a mad dash to the finish line.

Frontier America
Death Valley 20 Mule Teams

pacific ocean and beach
Our home for the next week ... minus the ocean

Speaking of staying busy, we head out Friday for a week of camping in Death Valley, although it seems a stretch to call it camping when we'll be living in a friend’s 40+ foot diesel pusher motorhome. Our transit and sojourn will be considerably more comfortable than the twenty-mule teams that used to haul borax across the valley to a rail spur. Those hardy teamsters thought a fringed whorehouse pillow positioned between their buttocks and the wood bench was the lap of luxury. I have to admit that I enjoy investigating frontier lifestyles with modern conveniences close at hand … especially flush toilets.

It’s been years since I visited Death Valley National Park and I’m looking forward to it. But planning the trip brought a thought to mind. Cattle drives, 20 mule teams, and the Pony Express are iconic imageries of the Wild West, but none actually lasted long. Although ranching and cowboys exist today, the great cattle drives had a relatively short lifespan of about twenty years. 20 Mule teams lasted only six years. The Pony Express operated for only eighteen months. All three of these frontier enterprises related to transportation, and all were obsoleted by the American penchant for speed. Our hell-bent for leather culture demands that we get stuff faster and faster. Nothing lasts unless it figures out how to deliver goods or services quicker tomorrow than it did yesterday.

For the most part, speed serves us well … except for passing through life. In that particular case, I think scrubbing off a bit of speed would be beneficial. Come to think of it, I’ll make one more New Year’s resolution: stop on occasion to smell the roses. 

thrillers, suspense, action, adventure
e-books, delivered at the speed of light ... well, sort of

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