05 July 2009

"For the beauty of the earth...." California ~ July 5th

Brianna (my sister) is doing research at University of California - Davis for the summer, so my parents had the terrific idea of flying out there for the 4th of July holiday to visit her and see California. Family vacations have of course gotten to be far more complicated to plan now that we're all older and have individual schedules: Dad has his job at MED Institute and is taking an online masters class, Mom works at the Music Shop and at home, and I have babysitting and strange research hours up at Valpo. Bri's schedule was the easiest one to work around, since she was already at California. But my parents' and my schedule meant we had to take different planes out of different airports - mine went from Chicago-Midway and Dad and Mama's went out of Indy. Both planes (not surprisingly) got delayed during the transfer in Las Vegas, but it meant that we managed to have time to connect up with each other in the airport there and figure out the plan for when we arrived in Sacramento. We managed to get in real late, but hey, we were in California.

So that is the actual logistics of Day 1 of FFA (fun family adventure), but believe me, not all of the travel portion was boring-sit-and-wait. I think I'll just choose to remember the good parts....which can be best described by giving you an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a friend:

"The flight from Midway into Las Vegas was, well, long (4 hrs) but it was daylight the whole time so I had quite a view from my window seat. I read practically the whole flight, but near the end, I got bored, so I glanced out at the sky......and the first thing I saw was the white clouds....parted slightly to reveal the majestic red, craggy earth, the light of the sunset glancing off of the air and forming a perfect rainbow, arching over the canyons. The canyons were like wrinkles of the earth, with their wandering cracks and jagged breaks, cut by the slithering rivers and small patches of dry green. The sunset made the edges clearer and painted them burnt umber, orange, goldfire. My eyes felt so trapped, in that small, confining metal space of a man-made thing called a plane - I was impatient with how much it limited my view of the gorgeous landscape. We had been chasing the sun all this way west and this was our reward - and oh what a reward!! Sheer, utter, beauty, untarnished from the heights. The canyons gave way to the mountain-hills, like fingers of the earth - tantalizingly strong and sprawling out along the land, breaking up to reveal the ground's heart of bronze. Then suddenly, I saw the huge, clear glassy river, just like a puddle amidst the hills. I cannot believe that people live right at the edge of such beauty."

The flight from Las Vegas to Sacramento was no less exciting. It was night-time, but I could see huge thunderstorm clouds and big flashes of lighting. Exhilarating to see from the ground, but even more so, when up in the air. I love rainstorms!!!


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