Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sunday Favorites -- Carpe Diem

It's Sunday and time for Sunday Favorites, where Chari, from Happy to Design allows participants to share an old blog post with readers, while still taking Sunday off, by reposting an old post.

Years ago, as an over the road truck driver, I collected a few thoughts and stories from my journeys and travels. In my Sunday Favorites posts, I am sharing some of those stories.

This is one of those stories and I call it:

CARPE DIEM -- Seize The Day


When you drive across the United States, you see many different types of beauty.  From the red rock of Southern Utah to the green hills of Tennessee.  From the stark beauty of Saguaro National Park to the lush foliage of the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana.

No matter how much I see, I am always eager to see more.  Around every curve of the highway, and over every hill and rise is a new and exciting view each with a beauty all its own, each presenting another "Kodak Moment".

One such memorable moment was the first time my wife and I made a daylight crossing of Donner Summit through the Tahoe National Forest.  It was December 2000.  We had just driven from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada, over the road that bills itself as America's Loneliest Highway.  This road passes through an Air Force firing range  terrain that would make the surface of the moon look like a Brazilian Rainforest. The most excitement and activity along this highway occurs whenever a tumbleweed blew across the road. 

The contrast between the emptiness of the Nevada Desert and the tree covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountain was indescribable.  Although I have always enjoyed driving, this was one of the few times that I  wished I was a passenger. I hated taking my eyes off the scenery long enough to watch the road.  Like so many places I have seen, the handiwork of a higher power was clearly evident wherever we looked.

In computer graphics, there are a possible 65,536 shades of green.  Every single one of those shades was apparent in the trees that covered the mountainsides of  The Tahoe National Forest.  As it was December a light dusting of snow  coated the boughs of the evergreens, reminiscent of a Currier & Ives scene.  Businesses spend fortunes trying to recreate this look on artificial Christmas Trees, but never quite succeed. Yet there they were,the real thing,  in all their glory, not just one, but literally thousands of them, a carpet of green and white that stretched from the side of the road to the bottoms of the clouds.

The story could end there, but it doesn't.  In August of 2001, there were extensive forest fires throughout California.  One of the areas where major acreage of forest was destroyed, was along the Truckee river, through Donner Pass, the very area, where, just eight months earlier, I had driven, in stunned silence.  In late September 2001, I again drove along I 80 through theTahoe National Forest, and once more drove in stunned silence, this time at the barren wasteland left behind by the ravaging fires.

How many times in life do we put off doing something because we don't think we have the time.  How often do we promise  we'll do it later.  How many times do we say "some day"?

If I had not driven through Donner Pass in 2000, I would never have known what it looked like before the fire.  A memory, one that reached deep inside me, and touched the very essence of my being, would not have ever existed.  I would never know what I had missed.

May I always take full advantage of the opportunities presented to me, so I don't ever have to say: "I wish I had".  

Carpe Diem~Seize the Day!

~{@ @}~ ~{@ @}~ ~{@ @}~ ~{@ @}~

Be sure and join me each Tuesday for Tuesday Trivia Tie-in, where readers are invited to share trivia and show off their treasures.

Read all about it here


  1. I will repeat need to write a book. You have such a gift and a talent for writing and taking us to where you are and have been. It's a wonderful gift that not all have. I enjoy your stories so much..thank you for sharing them.

  2. Troy what a great story and so true! Carpe Diem! One never knows what will happen next. I have been blessed like you to have seen much of this beautiful country of ours and I don't ever want to take it for granted! Thanks for a gentle reminder!

  3. A couple of my students are all about "Carpe Diem" - - - I will have a post about that one day this week over at my place.

    I do so love your truckin' stories.

  4. What they said . . . I too, love your stories. How very interesting this one was. Fires destroy so much beauty.

  5. Hello Troy...

    My friend, I just feel like shouting a hearty "AMEN" after reading your story! You said it so need for me to reiterate...but I will say that I completely agree! Carpe Diem...for we do not know if we'll have a second chance!!!

    I have never been through this area or Donner Pass but the way you descibe it...just gives me a longing to see it! I am so saddened that it was ravaged by those fires! Troy, you are such a gifted writer...thank you so much for sharing your creativity and your experiences with us through these posts! I'm so happy that you share them with us for Sunday Favorites...such a blessing, my friend!!!

    Have a super Sunday!
    Chari @Happy To Design

  6. Hello there Troy,

    'Carpe diem' indeed! ~This is so well written, that I almost feel as if I'm along with you folks for those rides across your vast and great nation! I can almost 'see and feel', 'the hushed majesty' as you so artfully descridbe the scenery Troy!..,I am so sorry to hear about the devastating loss of those vast forested and magestic regions!

    ~(Back in 2004, the folks in my area of the world awoke to find that a direct hit from a category 2.5 hurricane took our magestic, 'Point Pleasant Park'; a beautiful,forested, seaside, city park with it's many beautiful acres of lush forest and turned over 85% of that forest into 'match sticks' within an hour and over night!.., Also, just last Spring, a large swath of similar topography across the water and within clear view of that area, was also ravaged by a devastating forest fire)..,

    ..,(As a further correlated aside Troy, my mother is also writing a marvelous and riveting historical fiction book/novel about the Halifax explosion of 1917, where most of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada was blown up and destroyed suddenly when two, world war one, munitions ships collided and without warning, destroyed the old city founded in 1749, within minutes!~ The worst snow storm of the early century ensued the next day, hampering rescue efforts considerably; so 'Carpe Diem' to be sure)!

    I do hope that you also wil write that book Troy!.., Ever read Bill Byson's,'Walk In The Woods', book?

    This is my second time participating wth dear Chari's, "Sunday Favorite' meme; I am so enjoying the experience of visitng my fellow participants!

    Do feel most welcome to pop over for a visit!..,

    Cheers from Wanda Lee @ The Plumed Pen

  7. Hi Troy, I enjoyed reading this very much. The choices we make each day determine the direction of our path through life. I have written a short post featuring you on my blog, I hope you like it.

    Peace, Stephanie

  8. I so remember when we drove through this area after the fire. I don't think either of us said a word for a long time. It was so heart wrenching to see. I am so thankful we got to see it prior to the fire.