On the Road Again

On the Road Again

I can’t believe it’s been 4 months since we came to Death Valley National Park. I’m really can’t believe that it’s time to move on – again. This last year and a half has been one extended period of saying good-bye and moving on. It started in Aug 2016 when I was informed that Judson was shutting down the theology program and ending my faculty line. Taking a deep breath, my first thought when I heard this was – “It’s going to be ages before we feel settled and at home again.” Little did I realize then how ongoing this experience would be, how many good-byes we would have to say and how some were going to be permanent.

Moving On

We signed up to volunteer (free camping but no salary) at Death Valley National Park [DVNP] as interpretive rangers or park guides, for the Fall part of the park’s high season. Usually the commitments are for 3 months but with the busy time here being over the Holiday season we agreed to stay on through January. Since we didn’t have another gig lined up after DVNP, we thought we might stay until the end of March or maybe even April, if they needed us. Either way, we knew were here short-term. In late November and early December, we began applying for volunteer opportunities for the spring and summer – anticipating that we will still be on the road. As it turns out, on January 20th we will be moving to Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP). There we will be serving in a different role, as campground hosts rather than park guides – and we’ve heard conflicting reports about the hosting experience.

One of the interesting things about volunteering is that you get to learn a huge amount of information about the regions and the parks – history, geography, geology, weather patterns, biology, animals, recreational usage, safety… – but then you move on. Just when you feel you finally have a good amount, if not a lot, to offer to others, you move on. As enjoyable as the time is, as privileged as you are to have the extended chance to learn these things, as adventurous as this is – in the end its unsettling.

Feeling Settled

We are processing a quite strange sense of being both settled and unsettled. We humans have a strange capacity to domicile rather quickly. A family camping will set up for a week and make the place quite homey and their own. A place can quickly become ‘my place’ if you know you are going to be there for a bit. You “settle in” establish a routine, get to know the people, the place, the rhythms of life. You learn to, but also you choose to be at home in a place. DVNP has come in 4 short months to feel familiar, homey, like our place.

This feeling at home has also been mixed with a constant feeling of being unsettled however. After 2 weeks of training, then 2 ½ weeks of working and getting into a routine we received word that my mother had died. We immediately left for the east coast and spent almost 3 weeks disoriented and like we had whiplash. When we returned we headed into the craziness of the Thanksgiving onslaught here in the park. We also realized we would need to start applying and interviewing for whatever parks came next. Then after catching our breath for a couple of weeks and settling back down, the insanity of the Christmas/New Year onslaught hit the park. This coupled with a visit from our daughter and her boyfriend made for a fantastic but not-routine and early January. For me this unsettled period was amplified by 3 events. After being back from my mother’s funeral for a week I flew to Houston for a job interview. Might we be leaving the road sooner than we expected and moving to Houston? Alas, the answer was no. Then, I was contacted out of the blue and had an interview (on the phone this time) in Palm Beach. Would we be moving soon to Florida? Alas, the answer was no. Then, right after the new year I had a conference in LA. It was a fantastic time and I was able to share reflections on work disruptions and its effect on faith and church life.

So, in fact we have been anything but settled over the last 4 months. And yet, we have completely settled in. This paradox seems to be, on a larger scale, the paradox of our life right now.

Saying Good-bye

In a week, we will say good-bye to some amazing new friends. The team of volunteers that we live with, in our little camper neighborhood, are interesting, enjoyable to be with and have become a kind of family. Likewise, we’ve come to love all of the 6 month seasonal rangers (mid-20’s through early 30’s). And, the permanent rangers here are great folk, passionate about their work – the park and visitor experience. Saying good-bye to new friends, after such an intense experience is going to bring on some tears.

This is especially true after the number of good-byes we’ve had to say in the last 6 months. My friends and colleagues of 10 years at Judson, our friends and church family in Carpentersville and Algonquin, our kids, reuniting and then saying so long to friends in Colorado… at least all of these good-byes are more like “see you later” than final farewells. Yet there have also been more significant deaths in our close family (biological and church) than I have ever experienced. My mother, my cousin Jeff (like a second brother), my sister-in-law’s dad Jack, Al our friend from church and even our dog of 14 years. While we believe in the resurrection of the dead and know we will one day be reunited, for now, these good-byes are more than just, “see ya later.”

It’s the People

So, what have we learned? I’m honestly not sure yet. We are still on the journey and not sure where it is taking us or how long it will take to get there – wherever or whatever ‘there’ means. And in a way, that’s ok. Knowing that we are learning and growing, that this time is not wasted, gives our desert and wilderness experience a sense of meaning and purpose. Knowing that God is with us and has not abandoned us, even when it feels otherwise, gives us the ability to keep on going.

While I’m not sure yet what “the” lesson is, or even if there is “a lesson” as such, here are some things we can say with confidence:

  1. God is good and we will be fine, if not always in this life, at least in the next.
  2. Life is short, seize the moment if you can. Seek for beauty where you are.
  3. People make the difference. Everybody has a story. Listen to them.
  4. We all need meaningful work – whether that is paid or volunteer makes little difference. We all need to serve, to give to another, in and through our daily activities to live a good life full of meaning and joy.

 

A Crooked Road

I walk a crooked road to get where I am going
To get where I am going I must walk a crooked road
And only when I’m looking back I see the straight and narrow
I see the straight and narrow when I walk a crooked road

I sing a lonesome song to anyone who’ll listen,
To anyone who’ll listen I‘ll sing my lonesome song.
And when I hear you singing too the sorrow sounds so hopeful
The sorrow sounds so hopeful when I sing my lonesome song.

And a lonesome song will be my true companion
When all else has abandoned for singing of their own
And a lonesome song will fill my days with gladness
Make joy out of sadness when I sing this lonesome song to you

I love with all my heart, there is no way of stopping
I have no way of stopping I just love with all my heart
Through the broken and the beautiful, the bad news and the good news
The bad new and the good news is I love with all my heart

And a loving heart will be my true companion
When all else has abandoned for loving of their own
And a loving heart will fill my days with gladness
Make joy out of sadness when I bring this loving heart to you

I long to be a happy man, in this life that I’ve been given
In this life that I’ve been given I long to be a happy man
When the noise turns to stillness I see I have the makings
I see I have the makings to be one happy man

And a happy man will be my true companion
When all else has abandoned for happy of their own
And a happy man will fill my days with gladness
Make joy out of sadness when I show this happy man

And a happy man will be my true companion
When all else has abandoned for happy of their own
And a happy man will fill my days with gladness
Make joy out of sadness when I bring this happy man to you

I walk a crooked road to get where I am going
To get where I am going I must walk a crooked road
And only when I’m looking back I see the straight and narrow
I see the straight and narrow when I walk a crooked road

Darrell Scott

We need not fear economic growth

Economic growth is destroying our souls and our planet, writes columnist George Monboit. He believes ending capitalism is essential to human survival (A lesson from Hurricane Irma: capitalism can’t save the planet – it can only destroy it). He touches on several of issues in this piece and I am sympathetic with some aspects. Overall, this is mostly an expression of neo-Malthusian.

First, his analysis assumes an inexorable coupling of resource usage to economic growth. Yet what we see over the past two hundred years is a decoupling of the two. Imagine living in 1915, observing that the US had 300 million acres in agricultural production. You are told the population will triple within one hundred years. That means you will need an additional 600 million acres – an area equal to most of the land east of the Mississippi River. How many acres do we use today? About 300 million – and we produce a surplus. The global growth in agricultural land has nearly stalled and will likely soon shrink, thanks to the expansion of improved farming methods, new technologies, and reductions in waste of food in transport.

Furthermore, consider that through use of new synthetic materials and technologies, we can build ever larger and sturdier structures with a less material. Israel has been rolling out the first large scale water desalinization facilities holding promise for radical improvement in the abundance of potable water. We are in the early stages of nanotechnology where things can disassembled and reassembled at the molecular level. Virtually everything we use today could eventually be made from renewable resources. We are in the early stages of that. I am not saying this all happens seamlessly and without imbalances, but the abundance of the past 200+ years and the trajectory of the future weigh heavily against neo-Malthusian visions of inexorable coupling.

Second, ending growth is a convenient position to take for a wealthy Western intellectual. There are hundreds of millions of people in absolute poverty, with another billion or two only a little better off. What of these people? Are people in the West altruistically going to give up their wealth in order to adjust an imbalance? Not likely. Without economic growth, there is no hope for the world’s poor to attain some semblance of prosperity and well-being.

Third, I am not unsympathetic to some of his concerns about environmental issues. He is right to raise concerns like using the ocean as a trash bin. We must somehow address these externalities. I am not suggesting better coordination and cooperative efforts are not needed but none of this negates a parallel need for growth. (We should also note that annual global CO2 emissions have remained the same for the past three years and dropped by 15% over the past decade in the U.S.)

Fourth, yes, markets are imperfect. Yes, all sorts of abuses happen. But if not markets, where do we find this race of super-humans who will manage a centralized world economy, who are tuned into the endless changes in needs of each person and community, and will make decisions only for the common good, free of personal gain or pursuit of political power? They are mythical. Incorporation of markets (not sole reliance) is a more reliable long-term approach.

The answer is responsible growth with green technology and decoupling. Capitalism is part of the answer.

Pay raise, Perks or Benefits

Does your workplace offer a wellness program? Do you participate? Would you want more pay, more benefits or different benefits than you are offered?

From LinkedIn, #workplacewellness

A pay raise or great perks and benefits?

Are free food, fitness plans and mental health support becoming the way of the future at work? Office wellness programs have burgeoned into a $6.8 billion industry over the past few years, largely based on the promise of reduced employer healthcare costs. As of 2016, 76% of employers had a wellness program. But multiple studies by nonprofit think tank RAND Corp. show that employers typically end up spending more on these programs than they do on health care. So why do employers continue to buy in? Beyond the perceived dollars saved, wellness programs are thought to boost employee productivity and attract new talent. • Join the conversation — What are the most important benefits to you? And what do employees want more: a pay raise or great perks and benefits?

A Labor Day Appeal

“While it may be politically expedient to blame globalization for the job losses, the real culprits are increased automation and investment in software. According to some predictions, half of all jobs in industrialized countries will vanish in the next 20 years due to automation, computerization, and advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. It will take time before new jobs replace those that are lost.”

Maintaining a sense of purpose in a changing workplace

I need your help?

My current research project involves interviewing people who I meet on the road (literally and virtually) who have experienced or find themselves facing the kinds of changes in work and working highlighted in this article.

Many of us have stories to tell and these stories need to be told in our colleges, seminaries and through related faith@work organizations. If professors and other leaders are to be equipped and to equip those they teach to help people through these challenges they will need your help – they need your story.

If you have a personal story you would like to share and include in this research on work disruption, unemployment, under-employment, mid or late career pivoting, or the like, I’d love to hear from you and hear your byway tale.

I am asking 3 basic questions

  1. What is your story through your working life and how have changes in work and working effected you and your ‘career’?
  2. How did you respond to these changes or disruptions and how did you maintain a sense of meaning, purpose or personal identity in the process, and did faith or spirituality play a role positively or negatively through this journey?
  3. Did ‘play’ (recreation, travel, art…) help you or distract you during your transitions?

You may write your responses, or make a short video (e.g. on your phone) and send it to me. (Contact me for details for submitting a video.)

If you wish to participate, I will send you a ‘consent form’ as I will need your permission to share your story in publication and in educational presentations.

Alt-Right Nationalism, Racism and a Theology of Work

http://time.com/4915161/charlottesville-alt-right-alt-christianity/

In a Time article today, Aug 25, 2017, Christian pastor and social commentator Brian McLaren offers some reflections following his experiences with white supremacists and Nazis during the recent terrible incident in Charlottesville.

He asks, “What would possess these young white men (and a few women) to chant hateful anti-Semitic and racist slogans, to shout homophobic, xenophobic and misogynistic slurs, to speak of putting Jews in ovens and driving people of color off of “their” soil (land stolen by their immigrant ancestors from the Native Peoples)?

McLaren then turns to an interview with Christian Piccolini, a former white supremacist. Piccolini suggests that “There are so many marginalized young people, so many disenfranchised young people today with not a lot to believe in, with not a lot of hope, so they tend to search for very simple black-and-white answers.”

Further, Piccolini says it’s “not necessarily because of the ideology. I think that the ideology is simply a vehicle to be violent.” “I believe that people become radicalized, or extremist, because they’re searching for three very fundamental human needs: identity, community and a sense of purpose.”

This insight from a former insider, it seems to me, might be a key for understanding the rise of, and for working against escalating racism and ‘alt-right’ white extremism today.

It might also take us closer to the heart of the contentious and wider social tensions reshaping culture today – such as the rise of ‘Trump America’ and the increasingly aggressive imposition of progressive social agendas.

Identity, community and a sense of purpose – In what ways and in what places do people find these? A theology of work suggests that important aspects of these basic human needs are met in and through our work and working.

Pope John Paul II, in his 1981 encyclical argues that “human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man’s {humanity’s} good. And if the solution – or rather the gradual solution – of the social question, which keeps coming up and becomes ever more complex, must be sought in the direction of “making life more human”, then the key, namely human work, acquires fundamental and decisive importance.”

Do you agree? Might our work and our working, our changing experiences of it, the lack thereof, the way we approach it “managerially”, or some other dimension of this perennial human activity lie at the heart of our social problems?

Might racism, nationalism, and current attempts at social control be symptoms of a more fundamental problem of work? Might a theology of work be be how the Church can best address the problems of racism and nationalism?

How do you ‘Volunteer’ at Work?

Scary and Sad Beginnings
We pulled out around noon on Saturday Aug 19. After an hour on back roads through Dekalb we headed west on the 88. Within 5 minutes we had our first ‘incident’. As a semi flew past I let off the gas to slow down but the trailer began to ‘freewheel’ and push us rather than us pulling it. We found ourselves being tossed back and forth, bucked like riding a bull. The trailer fishtailed to the left then right then left… all over both lanes, bouncing, out of control. I thought I had a flat so didn’t hit the brakes. Wrong move for our situation I later learned.
The rest of the day and the next is white knuckle driving all the way to Kansas – scared to drive 60mph for fear of loosing control and fishtailing. Add to that, on the second day Kristy’s wedding-engagement ring are lost. We call where we stopped and left a message just incase it is found.
By the time we reach family in Wichita on Sunday evening we are both exhausted and discouraged. This is not how we had hoped to start our new life. We know there will be a learning curve, we know there will be hiccups along the way. But so soon? Do we need a bigger vehicle to pull the trailer? Where do we get money for that? We have to be able to tow our new home, and with a measure of confidence. This is not a hobby. It’s our new life.

People at Work who Care
On Monday we watch the eclipse with family. Pretty cool, 93-4% totality in Wichita. Then off to Flint Hills RV to have them look at our tow set up, hoping something can be done, no matter what it costs. Amazing folk. Jim works miracles. At least for now we have tow stability at 65mph. May have to change to ‘truck’ tires eventually, but for now we seem solid enough.
It’s odd. It feels like we are just on another family visit, only this time with a camper. BUT, we’re not. We have no place we have to be, at least until Oct 1. We have no ‘home’ to go back to. We simply ‘are’ where we are. The reality of this hits us occasionally, but what this reality is is still unclear.
But here’s what we have found to help us take heart. Jim at Flint Hills RV cared first and foremost about our safety. He wouldn’t even let us pay him for an hour+ working to figure out and fix our hitch problem. I tried to pay him but he said no. He was just glad he could help. “I just run my business hoping that what goes around comes around.” He said. “You are from out of town, just passing through. I just want to make sure you are safe. I used 3 washers…”
So which is ‘worth’ more to a business – a one time payment of $70 , or a direct recommendation to 52,000 fellow full-time RVers to go see Jim? It’s hard to say. I can tell you this, my full-time RVers Facebook group now know that if they are ever in Wichita and need an RV dealer or service they should go to Jim at Flint Hills RV.
By the way, Kristy called the rest area where she thinks she might have lost her rings. The woman on the other end talks to her for at least a half an hour, trying to comfort her and offer perspective, knowing how traumatic it is to lose a wedding ring. She didn’t have to do this for Kristy, but she cared about the pain of a person she has never met, but to whom she can relate, having a while back lost her ring as well.

Observations
We need others. We need friends and family, but we also people we don’t even know, who offer ‘services’, who just go to work. We were lucky enough to meet people in their work who cared, who simply met us in our humanity at our points of need.
The work we do, if we are to stay in business, is to meet some kind of need. This means it is actually a service. It is so much more than working to pay the bills. Our work, our business, is a primary way to care for and serve others beyond our small circle of family and friends. Volunteer work at church or in the community is great, important and necessary, but we spend most of our time ‘serving’ others at work. I wonder how today we might knowingly or unknowingly be serving, meeting needs? I wonder how we would experience our days at work differently if we had the same attitude and joy that we do when volunteering and serving in the community? Indeed we actually are doing so whether we realize it or not.

Extreme Sports: Taking it too far?

March 17th,  2005 St Patti’s Day

Zillertal Austria… beautiful day… time to fly my paraglider.

Launch site: Rastkogel – southwest of Penken

Launch: 2100 meters, 6900 feet.

I’m flying with a local guide. We arrive at the top and its time for the briefing. He has already shown me the landing sites. Wow, it’s actually pretty windy up here – wind from the west, northwest at about 15kph at launch. Guide says if it gets any windier than this we aren’t flying. The commercial tandem pilots taking up skiers are barely penetrating into the wind higher up and they carry the weight of 2 people. Still, the thermals, [rising warm air that take a glider up up and away] are working – the ‘house thermal’ is located. Going up today before I go down. Awesome!

Briefing: There is a lot of wind – and wind and flying in the Alps don’t mix. It can kill you. Stay out away from the hill and away from the lee of the hill, there, there and there. Also, it’s bumpy out there, this is what we call an ‘all hands on deck – active and not passive flying day. Darrell you must fly very actively today, every second be in total control. No relaxing. Total concentration. Mind focused. Fly smart.

You will need to bury the brakes when the wing the surges forward to keep it from giving you a frontal wing collapse where you drop out of the sky like a lead weight. It’s very warm in the valley. The sun is down right hot – but the air at 2100 meters is cool. They are going to be small rising thermals, but harsh and bumpy – especially with all this wind.

Hmm, I haven’t flown in ages. I flew once in Scotland the Ochils in October and one top to bottom glide in Feb in cold and non-thermic air – straight glide down. No really flying. Falling in style.

I am rusty and out of practice, and anyway, last season I was just starting to get the hang of thermal flying and climbing. I was hardly good at it. Think Darrell, be conscious of what you know, and don’t know, and remember the way thermals work. Fly actively but not ‘ham-fisted’. Don’t over do it. I need to apply more brake and really dampen the forward wing surges, more dampening than I did last May at Killin Scotland when I had my full frontal wing collapse. I can do this. I remember. Ok, I’m ready.

Launch: Ok, not my best but fine. Now out and away from the hill toward the house thermal and… Woaaa… a giant vacuum cleaner is trying to suck my wing’s leading edge out in front of me and pull it straight down, and it’s a bit bumpy and windy too. Scary. Dampen brakes hard to keep the wing overhead, and then whack – I ran into the front face of something… oh wow it’s the thermal, a column of warm rising air cutting upward through the cold mountain air, like a riptide of air upward. It’s an elevator ride up… BEEEEEEEEP-uupppp  goes my flying instrument (7m a second upward). Woah, rocket up, climbing, but it IS bumpy. Getting tossed around a bit.

I have to let up on my brakes more quickly from my damping in the pre-thermal wing surge or I’ll be in big trouble. It felt a little funny when I hit the column of air, wing went a little too far back [toward a ‘stall’] for my liking. I’m a little slow letting up on the brakes and when I hit the thermal it really pushes my wing backward. If I’m flying slow and near a stall and this happens – look out! It’ll be the devil to pay.

So, over and over again, feel the surge, bury the brakes to damp, then try to feel the timing, to release them, and then smack, hit the thermal and climb. It’s not pretty, but I’m getting it. Kind of like riding a bull through. But, I’m hanging on to the take of this dragon.

30 minutes of this… very active flying. I have never flown this actively or had to focus on my flying this much. Never. It ain’t smooth but I’m in control, I think. I don’t quite have the feel to keep the wing smooth and steady above my head, but hey, I’m in control and the wing is more or less doing what I ask it. I’m am flying it, it is not flying me. I think.

But boy is it bumpy up here for my level of flying experience and current lack of practice. But OK. I’m getting climbs – from 2100m at launch up to 2550m (back down to 2250 then up again) until I have to leave the thermal and press forward into the valley to avoid the lee of the hill. That would be disastrous to get sucked back over the hill. People die that way. I learnt my lesson last year at Avdou. Leave the thermal and push out into the valley and avoid the hill. A friend smashed into the hill last year and he is now in a wheelchair permanently.

I am high and the thermals are out there for good climbs, and I can get back to the house thermal with my height and catch it again and get even higher… I’m pushing into the wind forward, pushing slowly forward, headwind a little overly strong, but pushing…

Woaaaaa, my leading edge is exploding forward and straight downward toward the ground. That’s not supposed to happen. Bury the brakes really hard,  push more and more…. Woaah it’s bumpy and this is going to be a big thermal ahead. Nope. I need to get out of here now! In over my head.

Weight-shift right and a little more brake… oh no… not good… I forgot to let up on the break first and get the wing flying at full speed after that monster wall of air, and my dampening. Smack – just ran into that wall of air again…

Hey what the…, God or somebody just grabbed me by the back of my neck and slung me backward, – what’s this…? I’m falling out of the sky like a rock. Crap.

Woosh, one. Woosh two. What is this? Oh, I know what this is, it’s a collapsed wing and a spin, or a negative spin I think they call it, since I’m spinning backward toward the ground.

Right, ok now what do I do to get out of this? I have loads of height – no need to panic. Now what is it you do to get out of a spin?

I don’t know, I can’t remember. Bob talked to me about this on the day of the pilot exam didn’t he, I’m sure he did… woosh at least three times around then woosh 4 again and again (maybe up to six before I get out of it)… now what do I do, I’m sure pulling half way on the brake like I am doing now isn’t doing a thing to help me. Maybe I pump the brake… woosh, woosh – backward. This is not good. I am in trouble.

Whew. Great news, I no longer need to worry about getting out of a spin. I’m no longer in one. The slight pumping action instead, took the one wing tip – I cannot remember but I think might have been the left one – and tucked it all the way through the lines into the right side. I’m not spinning any longer, I’m flying on half a wing and am now locked into a nose over spiral dive, a ‘death spiral’ they call it, with a 40-50% of my wing tucked into what they call a cravet.

Round and round and the G’s I’m pulling are getting stronger and stronger. Force my hand forward to find the reserve parachute handle. Found it, but hey, let’s not panic. I’m still really really high, maybe 3k meters, and nowhere near the hill. I’m out over the valley. Good let’s try to get this cravet, this collapsed and tangled mess of the wing, out and start flying. Which line do I tug at, try this one and now this one… no luck.

It’s time for a full stall again but this one on purpose – to get me out of this mess. I remember what I was taught. Everything now in slow motion. Training kicking in… That’s how you do it.

Let’s puulllll and bury the break handles…Woaaah I’m stalling, falling backward out of the sky… OH WOW a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bag of laundry above my head [oh, no, that’s right, that’s my wing above my head, or is it behind my head…? Can’t tell. I’m dropping like a ton of bricks backward out of the sky.

Now what do I do… oh yea, remember not to let up on the breaks too soon. Oh no, my arms just went limp, just a little, not too much but just a little. Too limp too soon – wing surge again… I can’t stop it – bang – a full frontal collapse again. Dropping again, and then all of a sudden, bang – woosh…

Hey I’m out of it, and flying again, straight and proper – still high and bang – I hit a huge thermal and am now climbing again, a fast elevator up, up, and away.

Ok. I’m Ok. Hey I’m not even sick like last year when I puked in my face-mask and all over myself. I can keep flying, active flying the whole time of course. 2300m back up to 2500m, back down to 2300m, back up to 2500m. 20 or 25 more minutes.

UGH… after 30 minutes I can now feel the adrenalin subsiding in my body – weird feeling. Oh, hmm… A funny feeling creeping into the tummy. Woah, a cold sweat starting. I recognize this. Better land now before I puke pretzels and Landjäger sausage all over Mayrhoffen…

What is it about extreme sports? Why do we do them? Its dangerous. Why not just play a board game? Why risk everything? What do you think…?

 

Why talk about byways?

A byway is a road or path that doesn’t follow the main route. It can be treacherous, or a trek ‘off the beaten path’ leading to amazing experiences that most could only ever dream of.

In the US, Scenic Byways are roads recognized for one or more of six “intrinsic qualities” – historic, cultural, recreational, archeological, natural, and scenic. Scenic does not mean these will be easy routes. Most of the time, they are not. But the joy and beauty sometimes found can make the journey worth the time and effort.

A byway is a good metaphor for describing the ‘detours’  we often find ourselves on having met life’s roadblocks, and increasing in the disruptions of our working lives. Sometimes we are fortunate, and land on a beautiful and gentle path leading to amazing new places. Other times the road is hard, the way forward uncertain, and the destination, if we even know where we are going, is clouded by doubt, fear and frustration. Not all byways are scenic. But some are, even if not at first, and the best byways usually are the roads less traveled.

A byway, whether scenic or not, brings a newness, and often richness and depth to our experience. Literally. it seeks to preserve and protect important but often less-traveled roads and promote recreation and tourism with economic development generating new work.