August 20, 2005

Before the Flood

Today is the last weekend before a flood of new students arrive to my classroom and another year of teaching begins. I rejoice in this vocation with which God has blessed me and I rejoice in the 3 months a year of free time it provides. During my 12 years of overseas teaching there was scarcely any time away from work that I did not head into the wilds of Latin America. Doing so has so become a part of what makes me me that I am now experiencing what most accurately is described as withdrawal.

My last journey to the wild and weird climes of lands south of the Rio Grande ended in April of 2004. If I am unable to spend a few weeks in the jungles of northern Guatemala this Christmas the soonest I can get back to Latin America with tent and backpack will be next summer---a full school year away, alas. Not much I can do about this just yet except lament. Starting next week there will be no time for any such lamentation. Students and school will occupy my thoughts marvelously.

I had planned to spend this summer backpacking and 4-wheeling my way to Oregon, but pneumonia intervened. Five weeks in bed as weak as a kitten does little for the physique but much for the waistline. I am simply unused to such inactivity. Mind, body and soul have  rebelled. If I do not get somewhere alone in God's creation and do some strenuous backpacking I might go mad. Or nuts. Or become weirder than I normally am. But anyway...

I did manage to pass through some stunning scenery while driving to Oregon in my Jeep. I know next to nothing about the wilds of my own nation but it is Utah that has taken my breath away. I spent time in Moab and in Arches National Park and passed through Monument Valley along the border with Arizona. Truly, this part of the US deserves its reputation for 4-wheeling, mountain biking and backpacking. In between bouts of coughing up my lungs I managed some photos of these places. For example:

More evidence why the US is called 'God's Country.' Perhaps then it is time to 'kick the habit' of Latin American backpacking, to rid myself of the addiction and to see the wilds of my own country.

Then again, perhaps not.

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