Everything is illuminated…in the light of the past. “Everything is Illuminated”

No matter where you are or how awful the place seems,
there is always something beautiful to see.
You have to constantly search for the beauty in our world.

Most children get advice like “Don’t talk to strangers– unless they’re in an ice cream truck,” “Look both ways before crossing the road– you don’t want to end up like that chicken!”  I received that advice from books I always had my nose in so my mom and dad didn’t really have the opportunity to plaster my life with life-saving sayings.  This one, though, my mom came up with herself and she made sure to hammer it in.

My first memory of her actually saying this was in northern California on our drive from Wheatland to Beale AFB (Air Force Base) in the summer.  The fields were dead, the asphalt seemed to be melting the tires, and it was too hot to even remember correctly.  “Mom, this is such a boring, ugly drive.”  Then she tells me I need to look for the beauty in everything, no matter where I am.  For some reason, at the ripe age of 10, it sunk in instantly.  I couldn’t believe how quickly the world had changed.  The fields weren’t dead, they were reflecting the sun’s golden gift of Vitamin D and warmth.  The road swam with mirages of water so magical I hoped to see a mermaid appear.  And…well, it was still too hot.  This moment and my mother’s constant reminder of the earth’s hidden beauty continues to bring the world alive for me to this day.

My travels through a back yard desert infested with prairie dogs and trash in Idaho; exploring a fairy creek hidden in a Kentucky holler (hollow); being a passenger for SEVEN round-trip cross country road trips before the age of 16; finding joy in a child’s face who lives in an Ecuadorian trash dump; experiencing…well, California; having to put all my detective skills to use to find beauty in Florida and Texas; learning history from someone else’s eyes in Japan; being immersed in loss and triumph through Afghanistan; taking Bali the tourist way and still coming out a better person; and still being amazed at the magic surrounding me 10 days into driving from Tennessee to Fairbanks, Alaska with an 8 week old puppy are just a few of the travels and adventures I will allow you to relish in.

I wanted to start this to help others know the trials and errors of making a long trip to Alaska and now it has become a desire to help others know the trials and errors of making long trips through life– with what will also hopefully amount to some helpful advice for travelers and adventurers alike.  I can’t wait to hear some of your adventures as well!

By the way, I talk to strangers and don’t always look both ways when crossing the road, so even if your kid reads a lot and seems to have some common sense, you should probably still hammer these life-saving tips into their head.  (But make sure they’re not scared of the ice cream man because he’s the one person from childhood to adulthood who will constantly remain magical).


17 thoughts on “Everything is illuminated…in the light of the past. “Everything is Illuminated”

  1. Beverly Roe

    As grandmother to this gifted young lady, I am so proud to be a part of her adventures through this blog and cannot wait for more. God Bless your writing. Sending our love. Grandma Roe

  2. Lori

    Ok Sweet heart….I Want More!! but I know life keeps you busy so I will wait……..
    Love you

  3. Lori

    I want more!! come on 🙂

  4. Tim "dad" Martin

    Crystal, this is amazing. You have always had the ability to put the reader in the story and you have shown that you still possess that art, missing in so many other authors. I was not sure what to expect in you beginning, but I do know, when you put your heart and mind to something it is always great. I have missed this and hope this will be around awhile. I and Pd. I am Hoppy

  5. You are a talented writer, I am looking forward to what else you have in store. That is one of my favorite quotes. Great post!

    • Oh wow! Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it and look forward to hearing what you have to say about my future writing.

  6. jane townsend

    I am already excited about what you are doing and loved your beginning blog. I can’t wait to hear of all of your Alaskan adventures and how they will intermingle with early and previous adventures. I need to get you with my granddaughter, Alexandra. She is a writer too and loves sharing her thoughts. She is in Arizona this summer on an internship and is doing as you are doing. I should have some great reading this summer.

    • I’m glad you liked the first post. I do hope I can keep up with her and give you the great summer reading you are looking forward to!

  7. Rusty

    I’m looking at a photo that is near a cabin in the Yukon Territory in Canada. I hear there are a lot of mosquitos there in the summertime. How is it first hand?

    • Well, Rusty (if that is your real name), your source is exactly correct. However, firsthand, it’s not as awful as it may sound. Just make sure you either haven’t bathed in a couple days (which shouldn’t be too hard at that point on your journey to Alaska) or you have some bug spray. Personally, I’d go for the bug spray. Very impressive that you knew it was in the Yukon Territory. Sure you haven’t been there yourself?

      • Rusty

        I have been researching the Yukon as I would like to dogsled there as well as ice climbing. Both are very prominent near Whitehorse. In fact, from my research, Muktuk Adventures in in the area and is the largest dogsledding resort in Canada. Please correct me if I am wrong. Bottom line, it is a beautiful place from the pictures I have seen.

      • The cabin we actually stayed at was through Muktuk Adventures! I don’t know if they’re the largest, but since you’ve researched so heavily, I would say you are probably right. I’m glad you enjoyed the picture and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

  8. Dave

    You are a very creative and expressive writer, Crystal. That is a gift! Thank you for sharing!

    • Oh wow! Thank you. “Publishing” my writing on this blog for anyone to see is like going up that first hill on a roller coaster– it seems like every cell is buzzing inside and then they all scream together in excitement as you’re going down the other side. I’m so glad you enjoyed this first post and I hope you continue to read and enjoy.

  9. Lori

    All I can say is WOW! I am so proud! and looking forward to seeing all the adventures we have had through your eyes, good and bad 🙂 .
    Also the New chapters in your life that I can now share with you here as your story continues…..
    I am blessed to be a mom of two wonderful children…..
    Live and Write On Sweetheart.

    • It’s nerve-wracking but exciting all the same. Thanks for planting the idea and be proud for how it’s grown. And thanks for all the adventures you’ve taken me on so that I have plenty of stories for this blog!

      • Lori

        I would not of missed the ride 🙂 I love you honey!

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