I love traveling and visiting museums of all kinds: art, science, natural history and ones with specific content, like the Steiff Teddy Bear Museum in Vienna. Their collections hold timeless treasures and are testaments of nature’s as well as human creations. My soul resonates with a clear quartz crystal as well as with a Michelangelo. Why? Indescribable natural beauty, as seen in vivid hues of a dramatic sunrise or the nightscape portrayed in Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” masterpiece, kindles a flame of recognition in the divine mystery of all creation. And I witness my own life as a wondrous creation in process.
While in primary school, we took regular field trips to the museums in Balboa Park where the San Diego Museum of Natural History was my very favorite. Once inside I would linger, mesmerized by the gigantic round of an ancient Redwood. What amazing events were recorded in those compact tree rings? Although that redwood circle is in a different location today, it still stands witness to time and creation. At visits to the Museum of Man, I was fascinated with the dioramas and imagined what it was like to be walking through a scene with “saber-toothed tiger”, Smilodon, and dire (fearsome) wolves lurking about. These imaginings helped sharpen my awakening senses as I visualized wandering in the hot sun through tall grasses tickling my legs and I’d hear the roar of a distant saber tooth lion. My child self was reminded to pay attention to the whole picture . . . wild nature is pregnant with the unexpected.
That’s what I love about being a traveler. There is the journey and there is the destination. The journey is often the unexpected found by engaging with everything around me and that thrill of discovery when curiosity is my guide.
Every trip is memorable for many reasons. The beauty and wonders we discovered on a 2011 road trip inspired our June 2015 drive north from Orange County all the way to Tofino,Vancouver Island, Canada via the San Juan Islands of Washington. Our journey began in the rolling hills of Central Valley’s wine country where we spent two days hiking around Pinnacles National Park before heading north to The Presidio, a National Park since 1994. We left the car parked for two days while we wandered on foot around the stands of Monterey Pines, historical displays and current installations within and around this San Francisco landmark. Andy Goldsworthy*, one of my favorite contemporary artists who collaborates with nature to fashion his creations, has four installations here. We indulged in streaming “The Presidio” , an engaging 1988 mystery, in our room and recognized some of the movie locations. Next stop Fort Bragg and the rugged Mendocino coast where we explored the beaches, inlets on foot and with drone, hiked amongst towering Coast Redwoods, conifers and Manzanita and indulged our passion for photography.
A genuine surprise happened on a bright sunny drive north of Eureka on highway 101 when the place and its energy began to feel familiar. As we passed the Klamath Indian community my heart started pounding . . . that treasure-laden little museum is nearby; the one we discovered on a rainy day drive headed south in 2011. With a first rate collection chock full of timeless historical Qi, it is an American Indian artifact paradise that awakens a sense of awe within my human heart and captivates my senses with beauty of craft found in a really good piece of art. All packed into just a few rooms and lovingly labeled are artifacts rarely seen in such pristine condition, like the bright Tlingit potlatch blanket and hat with its regalia. (photo) And their feather baskets, oh-lala, such indescribably delicate craftsmanship. (My ex’s grandmother Gladys, a teacher, photographer and early aviator, flew her small plane solo into remote Alaskan villages in 1930’s and amassed an exquisite collection of tiny feathered baskets. Oh how I admired these; but that’s another story of lessons learned in youth) There is so much to see here, it’s like visiting cherished old friends whom I hope to see again and again; even if it is a very long drive up lonely old highway 101 in the northernmost region of California.
Maybe that’s part of the magic of discovery too.
Practice gratitude, focus on what is good and Qi beautiful, but also on what unfolds each precious moment of your life. CBN