Essay of Place
I remember going up to Daniel’s Park about six months ago and seeing a sight that took my breath away. The drive down Santa Fe is a beautiful one, there is no doubt about that, but it’s nothing in comparison to the view from that park. It was about five o’clock in the afternoon, and some friends and I were taking a back road up through the park. Flash! You come around the corner and all of a sudden the entire world is an explosion, a light bulb, a beautiful mural. Why is this place so beautiful? Why did God choose here, of all places, to paint such a beautiful landscape? I remember the sight coming around that corner vividly in my mind. A scenic stop on the side of the road shows a looking glass into a basin of splendor which extends from the plateau to the foothills. The air is like a magnifying glass, emphasizing colors and detail in a vision seemingly as wide as the sea. A glimpse of the mountains towers over the scene, and the foothills lead into a sparsely populated plain of beautiful pines and evergreens and waves of grass. Looking out on this kaleidoscope of magnificence, it hits you. Bam! This is the essence of beauty. Am I wrong to think that such a simple sight can have so much meaning? I know there are others out there who would disagree with me, say that this is just another expanse of untamed land. I remember being a little kid and going camping up in the mountains. I never realized this before, but I took the elegance of nature for granted back then. I’m sure I still do so now, and one day I’ll look back and see how much I missed out on. Up on that ridge, one can see that beauty has a lot to do with nature, and nature has a lot to do with simplicity. How can something so simple and crude have such an effect on me? I think that the simple things in life are the ones we take for granted. Without them, life could never be the same, but we never seem to take notice of them. Is this just human nature, or have we all been raised this way? I know I was never taught to take the time to look at the things I cherish and realize how much they mean to me. That’s one thing that scares me, looking out on this seemingly untouched portrait of perfection. What will happen to the world when there is nothing left? We take and take from God’s cookie jar without ever taking the time to bake a new batch of cookies and replenish the supply. What will happen when we’ve taken all we can before we realize what we’ve lost? I’m not just talking about nature, but all things in life. The fear of waking up one day and realizing that I’ve lost everything that is dear in my life, those simplistic beauties which make life bearable, keeps me trepidation of taking anything for granted. And yet, I take more things for granted than ever even I will realize. So this sight, this majestic painting from God’s hand sends me a message that I hope I will not soon forget. Don’t lose track of what is important in life, or you just might never be able to find it again.