A man once said, “This land is your land. This land is my land. From California to the New York islands.”
He was a wise man, that Woody Guthrie. He musically tapped into what many of us have come to love and appreciate about these grand old United States. Those rolling meadows. Those snow-capped mountains. Those sandy beaches.
This great land, it seems, is all ripe for the taking. I used to think the Heartland (read: The Midwest for those not hip to geography slang) was the only spot that offered the sort of serene beauty I’d always been looking for. But as I began to see the reds, whites and blues blowing on flags and bursting through the air (read: fireworks) last week, I couldn’t help but wonder: Doesn’t each part of this grand land offer us a unique treat all its own? Shouldn’t we learn to appreciate all the splendor that are these United States?
Of course I’m biased, so I easily see the beauty of the Midwest. The sprawling cornfields. The pasture of cows (my mom’s favorite animal). The smell of the fresh (cold) air in winter is, ironically, refreshing, and the smell of burning leaves in the fall always takes me back to my childhood – days spent crunching through the leaves at Hopkin’s Park.
Having spent two weeks per year in the Heart of Dixie (that’s the South for those who haven’t traversed south of the Mason Dixon Line) for some 25 years, I’ve taken it upon myself to deem myself part Southern. It seems only natural. The South and I are one. The easy, laid-back lifestyle. The friendly folk. The lemonade on the porch. It’s just a wonderful world down there. And for the record, I’m speaking of the true South here – the Florida attraction parks and booming Florida metropolises don’t count. Sorry, Florida.
Now I know that Arizona and I once had some harsh words for each other (OK, it was more like a one-sided attack coming from my end), but time, distance – and some rehydrating – has given me a new perspective on the Great West, the land our Founding Fathers sought to explore. Indeed, it is rich with its vast treasures. Those Red Rocks. The Grand Canyon (it looked majestic when the Bradys went). Those healing vortexes, though I don’t think they like me for some reason. And who could forget the great state and people of California? They’re lucky. They’ve got The Terminator protecting them.
I’ve only traveled to the hip East a handful of times. But, hands-down, it is the trendiest place I’ve ever seen. The chic, sophisticated people of The Big Apple. The quaintness of Vermont and New Hampshire. The endless miles of beaches and boardwalks. I once walked on the boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean and almost burst into song with The Drifters’ “Under The Boardwalk.” The experience was that powerful. I figure if I ever attempt that again, it might induce a heart attack.
But isn’t that the beauty of the United States? Not that all the sights, sounds and people induce a literal heart attack, but they do leave you a kind of breathless of sorts. If you travel one of its many highways or byways – or even trailways – you’re going to find something new at each twist and turn.
So where do you want to go next? After all, this land is your land. Explore it.