This Land

I have never been one to express strong political views or overtly display my patriotic colors, but there is this song that I really love and I always find it especially poignant on Independence Day. You know that Woody Guthrie tune…

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters:
This land was made for you and me.
Enjoying the View









It’s a classic, is it not? As a resident of California I am especially fond of this particular landscape, so these are the images that fill my head whenever I hear this tune. And vice versa. Whenever I am struck with awe by a beautiful view while roaming and rambling in this land of mine, the words to this song often come to mind…
As I was walking that ribbon of highway,

I saw above me that endless skyway;
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land is made for you and me. 
Owens Valley
Hilton Lakes Trail
Rock Creek Lake

Whether it be a skycape, a landscape or a mesmerizing waterway, images of this land have a tendency to instill in me a great sense of freedom that I don’t seem to experience anywhere else. Such was the case yesterday, as my favorite explorer and I celebrated this 4th of July in the most perfect way: relishing our freedom as we roamed and rambled in this beautiful land of ours.

Alabama Hills Sunset
Inyo Mountains

I have a soft spot in my heart for one particular recording of this song. The first time I played it in my Montessori classroom last year I was literally moved to tears (and quite caught off-guard) by the sight  and sound of twenty-four tiny little people spontaneously linking arms, swaying side-to-side, raising their big kid voices and uniting in song.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

My heart just about burst watching those kids belt out a chorus, the lyrics to which they didn’t even know yet. I will always remember that sound. I will never forget that image. I will forever love that message.

These were the sounds and images in my head and in my heart as we hiked yesterday. I was definitely feeling that patriotic spirit as I oohed and awed at Mother Nature’s wildflower display. Though the day was dark, cloudy and very moody, the wildflowers were exploding with vibrant color as if to say, Yay! Hurray! It’s Independence Day! Enjoy your freedom, happy hikers.

Wandering Daisy
White Heather
Crimson Columbine
Tiny Daisies

It was a rather dreary day and it seemed that Mother Nature was in a mood. The sky was gloomy and dark, continually threatening a storm. And though it was a perfect way to spend this day, it wasn’t all sparklers and fireworks. There were dark moments for sure, there always are. Sometimes I get lost in the gloom of things (as we all do), missing the things I want to and can no longer do, mourning the used-to-be’s and longing for the might-have-been’s. But when the sun comes out at the the end of the day, I will always say how very grateful I am for the strength and mobility that allows be me get out and enjoy all these beautiful things as often as I do. And to those who have sacrificed their very own limbs to allow me the freedom to…well, I owe my heart, my soul, my gratitude.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.
Waving Grass
Clearing Storm

My husband and I are very blessed to have the freedom and ability to explore and enjoy the mountains and deserts that we so adore. We have spent many an Independence Day this way and it always seems to be a most fitting celebratory activity. This day was no different, despite the gloomy weather. And on the way home we were treated to the most spectacular display yet. No man-made firework show will ever compare to the magical beauty of a desert sunset.

Owens Valley Sunset
Nature's Fireworks
Grand Finale

Today I’m feeling very grateful for my freedom, for my right to choose to the live the life I do and pursue my own personal happiness. And I hope you are, too.

This Land
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

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