Write Again … Heaven right here on Earth

Published 5:22 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

It has been my good fortune over the years to have traveled far and wide over this magnificent country of ours.

I have seen New England, the South, the Southwest – to include the “country” of Texas — the plains states, the Pacific coast from below LA to the state of Washington, the far west mountain states, and even Minnesota.

This land of ours, as perhaps many of you know and have seen, is immense in size, and stunningly, sometimes almost breathtakingly beautiful, in all its geographic diversity. Those who have never been out West probably can’t really fathom the awesomeness of that region of the U.S.

I have long loved the Appalachian Mountains. The Rockies are almost indescribably, unbelievably beautiful.

Our oceans, both Atlantic and Pacific, are overwhelmingly, powerfully impressive.

The Grand Canyon is utterly awesome. Seeing it makes you want to be very still, quiet, as you attempt to comprehend just how grand it is.

Yellowstone has to be one of the world’s most beautiful wonders.

And so on. “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California . . .” You know the song. Woody really got it right.

Then, of course, the parts of Europe I saw, traveled in, when I was in Germany in the Army, made an indelible impression on me. From Italy to the Benelux countries, to Denmark, to Berlin, and down in the Alps.

In all, I visited fourteen countries over there, many of them several times.

Often — almost always — when I would be “walking my post in a military manner, always keeping on the alert and observing anything that takes place within sight or hearing,” in the wee small hours of the morning, in good, bad, or terrible weather conditions, my thoughts, my reveries, would take me to Riverside Drive in Washington Park.

For it was there I longed to return, to walk, to jog, to see and smell in all its quiet and nurturing embrace.

That one street which runs parallel to the Pamlico River has a timeless beauty that is almost nonpareil. I think it is one of the most beautiful spots in just about all creation.

There surely must be at least one such place like it in heaven.

There must be.

Or, just maybe, what we have here is a little bit of heaven right here on earth.