July 26, 2009

What Does Free Mean to You?

There are as many perspectives on what Free means as there are people interested in thinking about it. For some folks it can simply be having enough time to get on a motorcycle and see places and things in this country they haven't seen before. To see the sites while also enjoying the sense of feel and smell that comes with riding. My husband Rick and his best bud from Kindergarten were able to take one of those rides earlier this month.

They covered enough miles to get them from the west coast to the east, but instead made a circle a bit closer to home. (WA, ID, MT, SD, WY) And along the way they saw mountains, valleys and wide open spaces through a range of temps. Add one kick butt hail storm and a bird committing suicide on the wind shield and you have excitement to boot.

When either of us is gone, we touch base most evenings by phone and get filled in on the days progress. Truth be told, when motorcycles are involved (his, I don't happen to be a rider) it also keeps my worrying to a minimum. He graciously indulges me. Bottom line, evening reports indicated they were seeing some beautiful places and happily he captured many of them with his little Canon 220. Perfect for a jacket pocket. It's the first time he has taken anything other than a throw away with him. He practiced a bit before leaving and I think he took some great shots.

Along with all the stunning countryside, the ride included seeing; where Custer, in a continuing effort to eradicate Native Americans, stupidly forced his men to their deaths, Mt Rushmore and the upper portion of Yellowstone.

This trip covered lands I have never seen so I'm doubly loving his photos. And isn't that one of the best parts of photography. The ability to travel to places you may never see, through someone else's camera lens and perspective? And this is the guy who has been telling me for 33 years that he can't take a good photo. Thanks Canon, I think you shifted his thinking.

The stopping places on their trip seem to me like observations of honor and another kind of free. At Little Big Horn the Natives of the Plains were taking a stand for honor and freedom. Mt Rushmore immortalizes some of our most honorable historical figures who worked tirelessly to establish and protect our freedoms. And Yellowstone?

Yellowstone is an example of freedoms that need more work through the protection and increase of our Park Lands and their wildlife inhabitants. In many cases it's a survival issue and we're down to the line. The wild horses above, who roam the Little Big Horn National Park, exemplify that idea. If you look at the top of the photo a little to the left, you can see specks that are the rest of this herd.

In some ways I am grateful that our damaged economy has created an increase of people getting on the road and experiencing more of the US this summer and less travel abroad. Being in touch with our history, land and wildlife raises our awareness and helps keep our priorities in perspective. I'd sleep better at night knowing horses, bison, deer, elk, bear, big cats and the lot still have room to roam. Spiders, not so much.

Thanks for sharing the journey and the photos Rick!


Jordan said...

Beautiful photos, what a journey!

Basket gal said...

Bravo Rick...what a great trip and photos! This brought back a lot of memories from my childhood stomping grounds. I have seen most of these places and I agree that everyone should take a road trip so they can see up close our beautiful country and everything that it has to offer.
P.S. Freedom and/or self-inflicted pain? I never did completely understand this means of travel for the handful of years that I rode on the back a motorcycle with Chris, but I am happy for you, Rick, and hope you have recovered!

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