Last week, we took a nice vacation, traveling to Rapid City, SD, and Northeastern Wyoming. With a couple of "must do" plans, and the goal to relax and spend some family time together, we excitedly left on Tuesday evening.
As always, it was really hard to remove ourselves from our responsibilities and commitments, even for just a few days. But, our capable staff pulled together to run the store in our absence. And, Laurie-Ann lived at our house while we were gone, so our pets had great care and companionship.
I love to travel, to experience new sights, tastes, sounds, and smells. Traveling makes me feel "centered"... the daily worries & stresses meltaway, as we drive the open road, enjoy beautiful landscapes, and see the world through Matthew's eyes.
Yesterday, on our way home, we took a side trip to Devil's Tower, WY, proclaimed in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt as the first national monument. Today, the beautiful landmark is maintained by the National Park Service,and visitors enjoy learning about it's history, ecology & geology. Families picnic in the shade of the Ponderosa Pines, hikers roam around the base, and adventuresome rock climbers scale the monument.
I learned that over 20 American Indian tribes have a cultural connectionto the Tower, and that at least six nations (Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone) lived at the area at some point in their history. The tower is of profound religious importance to American Indians, and many sacred ceremonies are held there. Colorful prayer cloths and bundles (left behind as prayer offerings) can be seen tied to tree branches around the base of the monument.
We took a lot of pictures yesterday, to remind us of our wonderful afternoon at the site, and capture the beauty of our surroundings. But, as we sat quietly on a bench, eating our lunch and watching the climbers deftly scale the rock columns, I forced myself to stop taking pictures and to live in the moment. Along with the awesome sight before our eyes, we could hear the breeze rustling through the pines, and smell the clean, fresh air. Chipmunks chattered in the distance, and birds soared overhead. A doe and her fawn quietly grazed nearby, and the sound of children laughing brought joy to everyone. Visitors from all cultures enjoyed the site, and we heard families speaking in many different languages.
I thought, "Today, I am blessed. This is exactly where I am meant to be, and I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing."
Those moments of inner peace will serve me well in the busy days ahead. Matthew starts Kindergarten this week, and coming home from vacation is almost as hard as getting ready to leave. But, our little family is refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized... ready to face the busy days ahead.