Our Shadows, Ourselves

Photo Credit: L.B. Palumbi – Three Shadows, Two Dogs.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

I had the fortune to travel to South Lake Tahoe for the first time recently, and quickly grew enamored of the fall-transitioning-to-winter weather. The smell of smoke from chimney fires, coupled with a biting chill whenever one found oneself in the shade made it clear that Mother Nature had plans: winter would soon arrive. She’d painted the trees in blood-orange reds, russet and raw and then, in the mountains close to the treeline there were clumps of icy snow on the ground, a reminder that the green trees and glittering streams were promises of colder times to come.

It was good to walk above the treeline, something about daring to be close to the top of a mountain (9000+ elevation) reminded me that this desire to survive where even trees refuse to grow is American. A stubborn, willful urge to take the road less traveled, and preserve wildlife areas. The Wild West exists, if you travel along the 5 to get to South Lake Tahoe, you’ll pass through a town that was part of the historic Pony Express. Walking through any of the numerous state and federal parks, you can catch glimpses of what untamed wilderness looks like. It is an important side of America, one that needs its citizens to urge its leader to care about.


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