Heading out on a round trip motorcycle ride from Michigan to
Montana, I was struck by how great a country we live that we can just up and go
explore if we choose. There is a lot of beauty out there in this great nation
to fill your eyes, and your soul with if you can get out the door. You can see
people participating in just about any activity that you can imagine; because
we are free to make the choice that suits us.
My fishing buddy, and motorcycle riding father-in-law, and I slowed our
bikes as we observed some children clambered onto the side of the road beside a
bridge West of Munising, Michigan. Once on the
bridge we watched the children do “cannonballs”, into the river below
that drained into nearby Lake Superior. I was surprised to see such behavior,
because with video-games, and computers in every home, I was led to believe
that this kind of stuff was left behind in the 1970’s! The beach near Au Train
was stuffed full of people. Their cars
lined the road as more people filled in any the available beach sand to bask
under the sun during Northern Michigan‘s short summer. I never expected to see
her there, but it was as if I could envision “Lady Liberty” herself
stepping down from her pedestal to dip her toes in the water.
Then with little effort, I could see her on the beach, with her
spiked tiara holding her bangs in place while the lake breeze blew her long
brown hair back in feathery strands. She stood for a moment near the mouth of the
river, her blue eyes twinkling, as the children played and dove into the water.
She shook her head and rolled her eyes in approval, as a smirk formed on her
lips. It was the squeals of delight from
the children that forced her smirk to broaden into a complete smile exposing
pearly white teeth which allowed a bubbly laugh to erupt.
“Hey, Liberty!” Some
teenagers yelled. “We need another player. Are you in?” They asked
hopefully from the volleyball net.
Liberty took off her robe, revealing her bathing suit that could
hardly conceal her tattoos. On one shoulder were all the names of those who
stood up to defend her under a banner which read, “Those who will not be forgotten.” Liberty had a wicked
spike, and a mean serve, which helped her team win the game. Once the game was
done she tossed her robe over her shoulder and took a stroll down the beach
listening to her I-pod. No doubt playing all her favorite tunes.
I saw Liberty throughout the whole ten-day trip. She was hiking
down the road in the mountains, under a good pack. She was fishing in the boat
next to us; laughing with happiness when she hooked a nice trout. She did whatever she pleased, free from
unnecessary rule or oppression.
I saw her in Minot, N.D. with the cleanup efforts taking place
from the spring flooding. No doubt, each sad, sad story causing a wound that
would take time to heal. Despite the pain, her blue eyes flashed with
determination as she nodded with approval as folks in the area agreed on the best
methods to mitigate the standing water, and breakdown the levy’s used to hold
the water back once the threat was over. She had a strong shoulder to cry on
when folks needed it, and comforting hands to hold when consoling those who
lost everything… encouraging them. Because when Liberty is around, you feel
like you can make a fresh start.
I saw her again further down the road, where petroleum was being extracted
from the ground with a somewhat controversial new technique, working hard to
make America strong, and independent. She was in the restaurants and stores
where folks built, and in some cases rebuilt their own businesses, and their
lives. She wiped the sweat from her brow as she pedaled across the plains
during the heat wave. She stood with her bible, and torch, after another tourist
asked to take her picture on the Beartooth Pass as she posed before the amazing
Liberty was everywhere we rode, and places we did not. In
courtrooms, classrooms, studios, board meetings, barracks, pet shops, gas
stations, on the farms, in the little house on the prairies, and the big ones,
too. Liberty may have some scars, but like her tattoos, she bears them with
pride. When you take the time to notice her; not just on her pedestal, but everywhere
you look, you realize that Liberty is not only beautiful, she is GORGEOUS!
While we know that not every nation is welcoming to her ideas of
freedom from external control, OUR nation is.
However, there is a price for this, because freedom is not free.