Me and her sitting in a tree, K_I-S-S-I-N-G.“Life is just a collection of memories, and memories are like starlight: they go on forever.” (Aurora Borealis) by C.W. McCall. in a tale of sleeping under lights that have been traveling most of forever, and have forever yet to go.

Most of my best memories involve travel. It’s been said that it’s the journey, not the destination that counts – unless the destination is Gransma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I have had a pretty fun trip, though there have been a few places where I’ve needed four-wheel-drive.

I have met many wonderful people along the way. I cherish meeting “strangers” as I wander from place to place, touching each others’ lives ever so briefly, including the non-human inhabitants of our planet I spend much of my life learning and photographing.

For instance, the gentleman the other day who, having seen my Outback park catty-whompous in the bushes, and me walking nearly a quarter-mile away, walked nearly to where I was to see whether my vehicle might have become disabled. It hadn’t, but during our discussion, he told me of otters on the creek where there are not, supposedly, otters.

And he told of beavers that often cross the road to harvest stalks from the neighboring cornfield. I had seen signs of beaver in the distinctively cut-down bushes along the creek, but I’d never thought of them harvesting corn.

In Hamburg, Germany one afternoon several decades ago, I was buying postcards at a train station when began a conversation with a young woman named Barbara. I do not remember who started it, though I recall her saying she knew I was a tourist because of the postcards and the Nikon camera hanging from my neck (thereby rendering another purpose for that set of bones and muscles other than to keep my head from dragging on the ground).

We walked around town for few hours, trading stories about our homes and me taking pictures of some of the cleanest urbanity I had ever seen. Shop windows displayed candies and pastries and clothing among carefully coiffed flower gardens along sidewalks washed down every morning before the stores opened.

Barbara had some difficulty imagining our malls, where as many shops were stuffed on multiple levels indoors, but she decided, considering the nightly news in 1968, that the United States was too violent a place to visit. I hope I was a good ambassador for our nation. Though the evening news continues to paint a bleak picture, the truth is in a gathering of nearly 350-million people, not many of us actually experience the disturbance that seems to infest our nation’s televisions.

I have met many folks who have made my trip funner than it would have been without them. There was the person who offered to knit me a winter hat if I bought the wool, and a trucker who, I discovered as he climbed from his rig at a Virginia truckstop, did not look or sound anything like the persona he projected on his CB radio.

I have learned the difference between grits and cream of wheat, and had a couple good-ol-boys in a pickup stop to lift my Yankee car out of a South Carolina ditch when I cut a bit short backing out of a friend’s driveway.

I have been lucky enough to discover a ton of cultural similarities as I wandered among nature’s two-and-four-legged critters. In total, they make the fourth Thursday in November a wonderful day to say Thank You for the memories and the starlight that have glowed along my path as I stretch my neck to see what is around the next bend.

Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Comments are welcome, and please feel free to share. Click the “Share” button to share it on social media, or copy the URL and send it to friends and acquaintances you think might enjoy it.