A simple first-day-of-the-year reflection, "What is worth celebrating in 2014?"
It has been said:
For me that translates to: trees, plants, birds, butterflies, my children, family, friends and parks.
Over and over, my photos repeat the theme of land which has been "saved." National Parks, state and city owned parks and land protected in trusts, all come to mind. But is it us who saves the the land, or this land which will ultimately save us?
About 5 years ago I purchased a CD series for my octogenarian father. We were about to travel across the country together and I hoped it would fill time in the car. Who knew that this epic production by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan would fill my heart as well?
Money well spent, those CDs have been re-played many times over. Burn's prose build in me an anticipation for my next adventure, my next National Park. Indeed, National Parks are America's Best Idea. Ask any of the numerous Europeans who have come to our country to visit these Meccas of nature: Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Cuyahoga Valley.
|A Joshua Tree (left) and rock formation at California's Joshua Tree National Park.|
My latest trip to California provided an opportunity to visit the long anticipated Joshua Tree National Park. Of course, feasts of this order are best served up with friends and loved ones.
|Queen of the Hill, J.J. Soski|
|Nearly a Nature Valley commercial: Jan and Hu Auburn|
Our National Parks not only preserve the land, beauty and wildlife which makes this great country unique. Our parks also preserve many of our memories, of people and shared places.
These unique sites must be kept safe for our future generations; they were already deemed worthy of protection.
|Lined-up at Shenandoah National Park.|
The National Parks were closed for a brief, unfortunate period during the late summer of 2013. When that closure was lifted, I noted people were anxious to return to our parks. This long line of eager patrons is not at the gate to Disney World or some exclusive resort. It is the gate to Skyline Drive, the main corridor of the Shenandoah National Park, an "Eastern Park in the Western tradition."
My parents shared this park with our family when I was a mere child in the 1960's. My oldest daughter and I re-visited that experience in 2013. Unlike the rest of the world, very little here has changed.
If we value our children, our birds or butterflies, our land, it is time to protect them.
|Shelly Soski Goodman smiles at the view |
Our natural areas, parks, beaches, forests should not be opened to the highest industrial bidder for mines, gas exploration or wind-power. Public lands have a more valuable use for our society. They hold our dearest shared memories, as well as our nation's greatest natural assets. Our highest and best use is to keep them intact as a gift to future generations.
Happy New Years! What's worth celebrating in 2014?
The National Parks are at the top of my list. Let's all go visit a park and then, tell a politician what they mean to our family!