Savoring Life’s Amazement and Wonder

One of the things we’ve been blessed to do over our 20 years together is to travel.    Sometimes our trips have been semi-grand vacations, but more often, they’ve been treks through backwoods places and country roads as we hop in the car with Dad while he visits customers.   Inevitably as we ride, we always laugh about the strangest of our vacations, and we talk about places we’d love to visit a second time.

I’d love to see Oahu  and the other islands of Hawaii again, as we did on our honeymoon, but NOT in what we chose as a hotel.   That was back in the days before we realized that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

I’ve never been as awestruck, and simultaneously frightened, as I was by the number of stars we saw while returning from Big Bend National Park.    Looking into that dark night and marvelling at God’s handiwork made me ponder how small and insignificant I am amongst the many wonders of this planet.

There are other trips that I would love to repeat a second time and perhaps none of them were as exciting to me as our first trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.   Short of traveling to Africa, which I might not ever do, this is the closest I will come to a safari experience.     So during our Thanksgiving break, with no family due to arrive, we took  the opportunity to see this area again, and it did not disappoint–for the most part.    The only dent in this Rolls Royce of a field trip is that we could not get the giraffes to come and visit!   During our last trip to the Center, we were able to interact with them at close range:

Also, NO zoo trip has matched the experience of actually having one eat out of my hand,

but it was enjoyable all the same.

The changes to our family dynamic were interesting to note during this second trip, as well.    During our first visit, our youngest was afraid of such closeness with the animals.    The older kids were amazed and excited, although it took a minute for the oldest to decide that feeding an animal up close might be fun.

During this trip, our youngest was SO eager to feed and touch every animal until we had to ask her repeatedly to just caaaaaaalm doooooowwwwwn, and the oldest is ‘no longer a friend of Narnia, ‘ (said in all of Aslan’s majesty).   She considered herself a bit old to feed animals, and was not clear on why she “had to” go.    Funny, even though her leaving us is months away, I watch her head off to our local cc, and/or take field trips with her college buddies–kids we only know by her descriptions–and realize how the Lord is slowly, lovingly allowing us to detach.   But, before that event becomes our reality, we wanted to capture a few moments with us together as five, and the children together as three.

Alright, enough melancholy moments.    The balking of an almost-grown-up kid, the fatigue (did I mention that I worked the night before?), and the price doubling as Fossil Rim realizes what a gold mine it is, were all well worth it.    After all, at how many other locations in the Western Hemisphere can you get this close to God’s creations that normally exist on the other side of the globe?

How many times have you stared an emu in the eye?

When have you seen a wildebeest that was not being chased by a crocodile?

We may not visit a third time; there are so many fun places to go, and it occurs to me as the kids get older that we cannot savor that moment of surprise and wonder forever.   Now they know what to expect.    Perhaps that is just like life itself.   Then again, some other animal could always take a clue from the giraffe and change the whole trip…

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