February 25, 2004

..."I can sit and watch the fields fill up
With rays of glowing sun
Or watch the moon lay on the fences
Like that's where it was hung
My blessings are in front of me..."

..."I've traveled here and everywhere
Following my job
I've seen the paintings from the air
Brushed by the hand of God
The mountains and the canyons reach from sea to shining sea..."

I couldn't believe my ears when I first heard Lonestar's "Front Porch Looking In"; some of the lyrics are excerpted above. At first I simply appreciated them for the sights that they so eloquently translated into words. As I thought about it though, I began to feel redeemed because somebody was singing the thoughts that I so often feel.

I like walks in the woods, even in the middle of winter. I like to drive the roads less- traveled, and I like to explore the nooks and crannies that other people speed past. I love leisurely morning trips to nowhere particular in my airplane, and I have often thought that a motorcycle would be great for taking the same sorts of trips.

Even this morning as I look out the window at a drizzly snow stumbling out of a gray sky, I could jump on a motorcycle and go to some out- of - the - way diner and have breakfast and a conversation. It is not so much where you go as it is the path you take en route.

I think that I can accurately imagine a morning motorcycle ride, and I can't believe that it would be nearly as inspiring, refreshing, and invigorating as a ride in my airplane. Even when the airplane is just chugging along, it covers eighty miles in an hour, and it can go in a straight line or it can wiggle along through valleys or along rivers and lakes.

There is no other way to experience so much so quickly. Just as the airplane can stretch a little time into a lot of distance, it can compress a lot of inspiration into a short period of time. I can sit next to a burbling brook on a springtime morning, but after five minutes I have heard the birds, smelled the air, and felt the warm sun on my face. Flying brings me the same sorts of pleasures but in a steady stream, because every five minutes there is something new outside the windows.

Sitting by the brook is to hold a slice of heaven in your hands. It is a dreamy place and you can readily imagine taking a nap amidst the splendor of it's serenity. In the airplane though, there are so many beautiful views coming so frequently that you don't want to blink, for fear of missing something new.

Perhaps the great scenery drew me into flying, or perhaps flying has brought me an appreciation for the scenery. It is not relevant whether we view it from a plane, a motorcycle or on foot though; In our part of the world beauty is all around us, waiting for us right at our front porch each morning.

We certainly don't live in the richest part of the State, but we have its best scenery. The hills, the sky, and the songs of the birds are all for free, and life is better when we acknowledge them. The beauty of Lonestar's song is that it pales all this scenery against the warmth of family, the view from the front porch looking into the house...

"...My blessings are in front of me
It's not about the land
I'll never beat the view
From my front porch looking in
There's a carrot top who can barely walk
With a sippy cup of milk
A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong
'Cause she likes to dress herself
And the most beautiful girl holding both of them
And the view I love the most
Is my front porch looking in..."

This picture was taken in July of 2003. It is always a thrill to share the sky with the sunsets over our hills and lakes.

... But the hills and the sky are forever, and moments like this are so fleeting!

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