I am a seeker of delicious new words.
Old and decrepit to some, perhaps
But well-suited at times when nothing else will do.
Words that have long graced many a page (or conversation) but are newly discovered and now mine to make use of as I see fit.

Words can be fanciful, ornate, economical and stout. Even exotic.
Chunky, elegant, gregarious, preposterous or ill-fitting.
It’s the manner of speaking them, using them to convey thoughts, ideas, emotions.
Or in how they are written, often beautifully, sometimes awkwardly, to illustrate an action, a theme, a person, place or event.

I am a seeker of scrumptious new worlds.
Havens of comfort, thresholds of inspiration, venues of wonder.
Environments to stimulate thought or to aid in the cessation of an uncomfortably constant stream of mental chaos and angst: a refuge.
Color and light and nature: birthplaces of history, art, literature, religion and countless cultures and civilizations.
Places, both ingress and egress, that bear witness to human growth and development.

And sadly – and far too frequently – human destruction, as well.

I am a seeker of peace, of harmony, well-being and community.
Searching out the best in others, and myself.
This, first and foremost…
Mindful, always, that this is a continuous process. A task never quite finished.

I am a seeker of the here and now. I choose, simply, to be.


Exploring the sights and (peaceful) sounds of a new destination at the end of the work week – Water Works Park, just south of downtown Des Moines – previously unbeknownst to us even though it is a mere twenty minutes from where we live – was an exercise in discovery and exhilaration.

A quiet woodland setting, a rustic bridge crossing a swiftly moving current, bike trails intersecting at various points and a path with a view to the stables where I took riding lessons a few years ago, cardinals and deer and squirrels and red-headed woodpeckers, redbud trees in full glorious bloom, the burst of green all around us punctuated with lovely purple violets, that amazing fresh air – and then this.

In the midst of a slight clearing, this simple swing suspended from an old tree, seemingly erected for no other reason than the joy of providing that childhood rush of rising and falling, gathering speed in the open air, legs reaching higher and higher – just for the sheer fun of it all.

Indeed, serendipity at its finest.


Get off your earmuffs and hear the call of the jay, the splash of the jumping trout, the roar of a waterfall. Brush the dust of habit away from your eyes and see the lacery of the pine needles, the vivid coloring of the cliff or wildflower, the majesty of the peaks. In other words, take stock of the world in which you live. ~ Arthur C. Carhart, US Forest Service, 1922

Just like that, when you ‘brush the dust of habit away from your eyes’ it’s funny how much of the world does come into focus. Things and people and places and events that we take for granted every day without so much as a shred of thought or acknowledgement sometimes take hold of us. Guiding us toward truths that have always been right there, patiently and quietly waiting for us to notice. It’s moments like these when we come to realize what is really important: family, health, friends, passion and purpose.

Look around you. What are you waiting for? There’s a big, fat, magnificent world out there with beauty and elegance and simplicity and calm at every turn. All yours if you will only open your eyes and see.


Road tripping, either done over the weekend or as a means of travel over the course of several days or even a week or two, brings to mind the old maxim about enjoying the journey and not just the destination. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, when it comes to travel (especially via our nation’s roadways): You never really know what you’re going to get (or where you’re going to end up). Those less brave and optimistic about life’s twists and turns might read this with a negative bent. I, on the other hand, prefer to consider all the wonder, mystery and beauty in this world including the charm, goodness and generosity of those we might encounter along the way.

To my way of thinking there are two necessary components for enjoying a fun and rewarding road trip excursion (aside from a reliable mode of transportation, a full tank of gas and adequate funds to get you to where you want to go):

  • Flexibility: Being joyfully willing to accommodate a change of plans, target destinations and perhaps even travel companions. Individual thresholds to comply may vary (refer to your own personal owner’s manual).
  • Sense of adventure: Welcoming new experiences with grace, enthusiasm and a hefty sense of humor. Employing a gleeful approach to stepping outside one’s comfort zone is a must for cultivating unforgettable memories.

Optional elements for a successful road trip include the following (although some, like myself, would argue these are requirements in their own right):

  • Camera, charger and/or batteries to capture the fun and whimsy along the way.
  • Funky, colorful clothing, solid yet stylish footwear, sunglasses and your favorite jewelry (you want to look good in those photos, don’t you?)
  • Portable laptop (don’t forget the power cord!) to upload said photos and to research landmarks, historical information, find restaurants, hotels, campgrounds and other points of interest.
  • Books, magazines, Kindles to peruse during your downtime or while on the road (preferably while your partner/significant other is doing the driving. ‘Nuff said.)
  • Great travel music which helps immensely over those long stretches when caffeine and the ability to safely rest are just beyond reach. Highly recommended: George Thorogood, Joe Bonamassa, Dire Straits, Queen and Pink Floyd. Not your cup of tea? Pick your own poison.
  • GPS: Our own personal Ginger (when we remember to hook her up) is an invaluable tool for navigating unknown locales, finding the nearest Starbucks or a particular restaurant as well as providing useful stats such as travel time, average speed, maximum speed and rest time. Use with caution however and in tandem with a pre-printed travel route. Ginger has been known to divert us to impractical and/or inefficient paths that she, in her wisdom, deems the preferred method for getting us from Point A to Point B. These alternate routes have at times taken us very much off the beaten track.

So. There you have it. Everything you need to enjoy your time on the open road. Perhaps most important, however, is the desire to just have fun and to make the very most of your road trip adventure. Our world offers a multitude of travel and exploratory opportunities. Now get yourself behind the wheel and go enjoy what’s out there!