I watched a YouTube video yesterday from one of my favorite vloggers, Thomas Heaton. He is a landscape photographer and his channel centers around his adventures in capturing great landscapes around the world.
He is based in the UK, and just like the United States, he is under a mandate to self-isolate at home.
This week’s episode had him set up a tent in his garden, which is what they call the backyard there I guess, light a fire using a fire starter, and capturing sunset images with five trees in his neighbor’s yard as the subject of the image.
If you are a consistent reader of this column, I mentioned camping out in the back yard a few weeks ago regarding things to do at home that can keep our sanity while also adding a bit of adventure.
We are limited on things we can do, even outside, at this point in our new dailies. For me, life has continued to be an adventure, and I am grateful for that. It has also meant doing some things I wouldn’t normally do.
I was on a two-week excursion that carried me across the country for instance. I decided driving would be best rather than flying considering all that was going on. From Carolina to California. That is a long haul. I also had to take every precaution possible in this business trip, which included using paper towels or gloves at every gas stop, figuring out bathroom scenarios, eating, and of course, make sleeping arrangements.
|Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park at sunset. (Photo/Bill Howard)|
Since I was headed west, I decided to find every park I could possibly find to be my nightly stops. I could stay in the truck or tent or hammock, and avoid hotels as well as truck stops and Walmarts.
And or the most part, I was very successful in doing so. I stayed in one Walmart parking lot out of 13 nights. Once I stayed outside a convenient store somewhere in the heart of Nevada. The rest of the time I was able to stay in places such as Saguaro National Park, Death Valley National Park, or Great Sand Dunes National Park.
These were places I always wanted to visit anyway, and life just happened so that I could.
It was interesting for many factors as well.
Many parks were either closed prior to my departure or changed their policies and closed while I was in transit. Parks such Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Joshua Tree not only closed facilities, but they didn’t even allow entrance via vehicle, bike or foot. Fortunately, Death Valley remained accessible during the time I was in that particular area.
Arches National Park was closed, but Capital Reef, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Bryce Canyon were open other than for facilities. I got my work done, kept my distance from people and made it throughout the trip without catching anything.
I witnessed some incredible sunrises and sunsets, ate plenty of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee meals under the shade of some fantastic landmasses, and made the most of what I could in such a difficult time.
Despite all of the hardships and tribulations we are going through, God showed me he still rotated the earth and it still orbited the sun.
We should not take that for granted. The world may seem like it is falling apart, but it isn’t. Only our limited view of the world is being affected. The real natural world is still moving along in a real natural path. I remember one night, as the temperature dropped below 20 degrees Fahrenheit while I was sleeping in the back of my pickup inside a zero degree bag, I woke to pull a blanket over my head and arm that were outside of the bag, and gazed through my foggy slumbering vision a bright white streak of light in the sky. I blinked several times and wiped my eyes, and realized the bright white streak wasn’t a cloud in early morning sunlight, but it was the stars in heaven that consisted of the Milky Way.
It was still there, just as it has been since the dawn of time. And it was still as beautiful as those generations that gazed upon it well before such things as electricity and lights hampered our vision and altered our place here.
Everything isn’t in chaos, it is still there. And we should be thankful.