Maybe it’s time for us to start looking for new ways to force people out of their geographical and digital bubbles and help them to see that we have more in common than we do differences. Domestic exchange programs and building a new Civilian Conservation Corps would be great places to start, developing friendships and connections that potentially last decades. There is no shame in loving our homes and taking great pride in our towns, cities, and states. The problem is when we see those towns, cities, and states as “the best of all possible worlds,” to borrow a phrase from Candide.
The first trip by myself to Galveston gave me the chance to do research on activities our family could do on a return to the island. We’ve taken family down to the coast before, enjoying time on the beach at the state park and walking around the small downtown area to look at shops, but that had been the extent of our family explorations. I wanted our return to the island to be a continuation of the historical journey I began by myself.
Even those least affected by COVID-19 and the ripple effect of its presence will be forever changed. It is understandable to desire a return to “normal.” It is human to look back on the past with a sense of clouded nostalgia, remembering things as we want to remember them, not as they actually were. But before we jump into a return to the way things were, we should take a moment to imagine the way things could be.
We aren’t all walking around with signs on us telling people what we are dealing with or revealing our pasts. Like many, I’m also guilty of sitting on my high horse from my social media dais making proclamations about issues that I know very little about without getting curious about why my opponents feel so different from me. I’m guilty of seeing myself as superior in my knowledge and understanding of the world around me. I’m guilty of looking down on those who do not see the world as I do. But what if, instead of just attacking those who we disagree with, we just started by asking “why do you feel this way?” What if we committed to being more inquisitive? What if we started by having a conversation instead of just making assumptions?
Our stop through Arkansas Post was unexpected, but as I’ve said many times before, I’m constantly working to accept the unexpected in my life. We were happy that we beat the rain and still got to learn some obscure history about both Arkansas and the Civil War.
Cane Creek once again confirmed the value of camping at state parks. While we wouldn’t drive the long haul from Texas for the sole purpose of camping there again, it was a good place to meet up with my parents and provided more experiences than we had originally anticipated.