Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 214 of 365: The Vastness of America

It's 8:30 in the morning and already a balmy 70 degrees. I have an obscene inability to sleep in, so I spent the better part of the sunrise and early morning walking the beach before getting into some yoga and tai chi.  The second the sun came out, sweat started to build on my face and I was already imagining how good it would feel to go for a swim.  I then remembered that, just a 3-hour plane away, there are ice/snow mounds that reach 14 feet or higher.  In New England right now, "balmy" is a whopping 40*F.

I remember talking once with a politician from Belfast. Unlike a good chunk of Europeans, he didn't look down on Americans for their lack of international travel.  He simply said, "Look at everything that is happening in America. There is so much to see.  Why visit anywhere else?"

Driving cross-country showed me just how vast and varied America is (and that was just a cut-and-dry East-West drive). America lacks in history (as we, y'know, kind of destroyed the original history to make our own country) but it is abundant in different geographies, topologies, cultures and values and nuances. If you knew nothing about American borders and were shown five different photos -- one from Florida, one from New York,  one from Texas, one from Wisconsin, and one from Nevada -- there is a good chance you would attribute all five photos to five different countries.  People can get on how standardized everything is but, at the end of the day, the climate is different (literally and figuratively), the styles of houses are different, the ways of speaking are different -- even the way of dressing is different.

Which is also why it's so difficult to make things work in America, as opposed to other smaller countries.  What would benefit the Northeast might hurt the Midwest. What the West Coast agrees with, the South might be completely against. We are varied in a way that few countries can really understand.

What started off as a post that wreaked of "omg beach and yoga and road trips" suddenly got a little political. Or at least took on the role of the neutral observer in politics.  Not bad for only 8:30 in the morning.

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