Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Going to Continental Congress: Sedillo to St. Charles

On Monday, New Mexico Delegate Michael Lunnon and I began the drive from Gallup (in Michael's case) to St. Charles. Michael stopped to get me on a warm and sunny Sedillo fall morning, the kind with the New Mexico blue sky that breaks the heart. We drove 14 hours on Monday, finally stopping in Springfield, Missouri just past midnight Tuesday morning. Yesterday, we drive about eight hours from Springfield, MO to St. Charles, Illinois.
But I still had time to take a few pictures . . .

Looking north just east of Milagro, NM.

Pinyon-juniper woodlands and shortgrass prairie, near the ecotone where, as we descend east, the trees will give way to the grasslands.

At the rest stop west of Santa Rosa, NM, a red-rock canyon composed of brilliant shales, as we descend into the Pecos River Valley.

Rio Grande Valley. Pecos Valley. Later the Canadian. As we go eastward, each river valley will be lower by thousands of feet than the last, as we drive down the incline of the alluvium from the Rockies and Basin and Range.

Grain elevator east of Amarillo on the Texas Panhandle.
We had driven into a frontal system, clouds and fog.

Texas Panhandle, just west of Oklahoma. It seems as flat and level as a table top, and it is indeed one massive mesa. But the slight incline away from the mountains to the west is not perceptible, although it is there. It is the alluvium and wind-blown detritis of the Rockies, fingers of which reach all the way to the Mississippi River.

We drove into the night in Oklahoma, talking and talking, learning to understand each other with respect to all of the issues that will be argued at the Continental Congress. We found ourselves to be sympatico.

In the morning, a water tower in Rolla, Missouri, on the east slopes of the Ozark Dome. Hardwood forests in these low, very old mountains: Maple, Walnut, Oak.

Bare tree on a hilltop west of St. Louis, where the Ozarks are interrupted by the Mississippi River.

They continue into Southern Illinois more weathered still at the edge of the dome; and in Kentucky and Tennessee, meeting the the Appalachians.

Across the 'Father of Waters' (not pictured--we could not pull over), in the coal and oil country of Southern Illinios, we stopped.

The flag is at half-staff to honor the fallen soldiers murdered in Texas. Tomorrow, on Veterans Day, we will renew our oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Woods and pond at a rest stop south of Springfield, Illinois. The clouds were closing in, and we drove through intermittent, heavy rain until it cleared from the west near Joliet, Illinois.

Every time I make this drive, I think about the vastness and diversity of the United States and the uniqueness of the North American Continent.

Stretching from Atlantic to Pacific, the geographic and geological diversity is stunning, as is the regional diversity of the people. An amazing place.

And a fitting way to enter into the frame of mind needed to do our part to restore the Constitution that creates out of that diversity fifty sovereign states, which together create these United States.

E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The delegates to the Philadelphia constitutional convention didn't expect the convention to last 4months. The convention went into deadlock and things almost fell apart. Some of the delegates like James Madison had to borrow money for food and shelter. He and the other famous delegates stuck it out through the hot summer days and produced a miracle.

We Americans have the Constitution, Concord and Lexington Green, The Minuteman statues, The Liberty Bell, Fanueil Hall in Boston, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence and so many other icons of our wonderful heritage of freedom and liberty. We also have the vast acreages where American farmers plant and harvest food that feed America and the world.It must fill you with pride as you roll by those plowed fields toward St. Charles to realize that after 220 years we Americans can still plant those crops and build the cars and travel to an American city where you will gather with other delegates at the Continental Congress 2009 and declare: "I am still a free American! And we've only just begun to restore the Republic!"