Cuyahoga Valley National Park….
I’ve literally driven over this park, south of Cleveland, Ohio, over a million times. Today I finally veered off the interstate and did a little exploring. I have to say, It reminded me of the Delaware Water Gap in Jersey. I took the super short trail to Brandywine Falls first. Very pretty. Lots of Hemlocks, old Maples, and interesting rock walls line the ravine that the falls spill into. It’s reassuring to see that the Buckeye State contains natural wonders of its own worth preserving. Every state has them. After the walk, I drove through the lovely forested lands of the park and past slow moving streams and charming fields. I also received a history lesson on the area’s canal system. It’s incredible that this park’s namesake river once caught fire and was turned red by disturbingly high levels of toxins and contaminants. The Cuyahoga River was the poster child for the fight for clean water and it birthed the Clean Water Act and Earth Day….
The weather was gorgeous today. I tell you, it still feels like the middle of summer. So many acres of corn line the interstate in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. These agricultural areas are the finest examples of mono crops. No bueno. It gets monotonous after a while but the farm houses that dot the landscape are incredibly charming. Traffic in the Chicagoland area is no joke. All of a sudden, you’re joined by an endless sea of cars until you cross the border into Wisconsin. It’s a shame you can’t see Lake Michigan from the highway. The Chicago skyline serves as a manmade mountain range of skyscrapers that present the only relief for miles and miles….
I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of travel. Of how human it is, the desire to explore what’s around the next bend, the curiosity that manifests, the pleasure that comes with experiencing new places. Developing a sense of place is paramount to appreciating life, in my humble opinion. I thought a lot about my previous relationship today. Re-playing situations in my mind, missing the companionship, the shared adventures, the presence of someone that understands what makes you tick. Of course the first thing I saw today at the falls wasn’t the falls, but a couple lovingly holding hands, enjoying the view. Sooooo envious I was. This is part of the emotional, psychological load that I’m working through currently. Getting through these moments defined by a deep sense of yearning, dealing with the heartache in a healthier manner.
I’m closer to Yellowstone. The miles continue. The journey unfolds before me…..