On the Road: Looking at America Through a Layer of Filth, Grime and Bug Guts

View of the smokies
After Santa's Land

A few miles away from Santa's Land we stopped at a roadside pull-off to catch our breath and to see if any elves where on our trail. The coast, or should I say mountain, was clear. It was time to stop and think about the events of the morning. All of the commercialism I had seen left me wondering if I wanted to continue crossing the country. I was ashamed to be descended from a people who would take the raw beauty of nature and turn it into a cheap, gaudy, tacky tourist attraction. I felt dirty .

Then I looked at where I had stopped and in front of me was the most glorious sight I had seen that day. I was in awe. As far as I could see there was nothing but gentle rolling hills and blue sky. I looked over the mountains and valleys and reflected. I asked myself why this sight had no sign claiming "most photographed" status or why no one had stuck a dead animal or positioned a waving Indian in front of it in order to capture the attention of the passing motorist? I realized this was a spot of purity. Standing on that mountain, I stared into heaven and heaven stared back in my general direction. My brother and I had finally made it out of the depths of garishness, and found a place of natural and sacred bliss. Something came over me. I felt cleansed, baptized, reborn. I was ready to continue my journey of a lifetime. I was going to see this country for all of it's natural, God given beauty. I was proud to have been descended from a people who knew a good country when they stole it. This was America. The land of Sitting Bull, Daniel Boone, Lewis, Clark, Donnie and Marie.

With my spirit renewed I was ready to to forge ahead. I took one last look at this holy view and took a few snap shots for my scrapbook. I wasn't going to let crass commercialism ruin my blind patriotic view of my homeland. I was going to drive through America ignoring the ugly aspects of our culture and accentuating the positive. Bumper sign I turned to my car with a restored spirit and found hanging on the bumper a green banner with bright pink letters that exclaimed to the world that I had visited Santa's Land. While I wasn't looking, a sly, quick, quiet, elf attached a small billboard to my car. I laughed. I laughed long and hard. That sign made me happy. I realized something. I realized I didn't have to chose between the sacred and the mundane. I could love both for what they were. Sure, the finest things to see out in the world are "God forged", but there are some of the really cool things that have come from the spirit of humans. Some of those human things where created out of the need to make a quick buck and some of them were born out of the need to express. I learned that morning to love my country for what it was, a beautiful, sweet, kudzu covered, two-bit whore. Besides, who am I kidding? I was on my way to Hollywood, where crass commercialism is a billion dollar industry. I resolved the Santa's Land sign would be on my front bumper for the rest of the trip, as a reminder of the lesson I learned that day.

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