By the numbers:
- 251 miles, from outside Houston TX to Natchitoches LA – 3283 total miles for the trip.
- highest temp: 90 and over 90% humidity for part of the day.
- elevation: rose to all of about 130 feet above sea level. Not going to report on this again until after we are out of Florida.
- 2 states: Texas and Louisisana: up to 9 total states for the trip.
- New licence plates spotted: none
- One new national park: Big Thicket National Preserve.
– 16 total park sites for the trip.
Even though it was hot and humid we were comfortable most of the day traveling in our air-conditioned car. This part of the country is so lush and green. It is really quite beautiful. We learned at the Big Thicket that for many years the Thicket was home to relatively few people, but that they could live a pretty reasonable life totally in the woods. The area is full of such a diverse range of plants, trees, birds, insects and animals that resourceful people could live a very self-sustained life just from the resources around them. In addition to using natural items for food and clothing and shelter, many medicines could be obtained from the Thicket.
It was interesting to be in this area at the same time as we were finishing listening to David McCullough’s excellent book on The Wright Brothers. Wilbur and Orville were a pretty amazing pair, truly scientifically genius, incredibly industrious, honest, and creative. They deserve every credit as the inventors of the first heavier than air flying machine. While they eventually did make a fair amount of money from their invention and work, becoming rich was never their goal. They lived very consistently with their father’s maxim that “All the money anyone needs is just enough to prevent one from being a burden on others.”
My thought about the people living in the Big Thicket was that many of us today might look upon such an existence as a pretty low level hard scrabble way of life, but they definitely lived according to Milton Wrights advice. Not needing or expecting support or help from anyone else. Of course we do not live in a world where everyone ascribes to that approach. At the point at which it was realized that the Big Thicket contained Big Timber and Big Oil, then Big Money stepped in, booted out many of the people living there and just about destroyed this most amazingly diverse and intricately intertwined and balanced environment. Luckily before that happened, people with a longer view stepped in and set aside a small part of the original Thicket as a preserve.
The story of the Big Thicket can also be seen as a allegory more generally for other issues in our modern world. See GracedMoment blog for today.
The best part of travels to new places, whether it be physical travels to National Parks, or intellectual travels to other places and times like 1903 at Kitty Hawk, is when we can use those new experiences to reflect on ourselves and what we can do to make our work a better place.
Tomorrow we will visit a part of the Cane River Creole National Historic Park and another museum in Shreveport LA.