Loyd Park Revisited

The combination of unseasonably warm weather and water main repairs at Cedar Hill State Park brought us back to Loyd Park after many months. We had been away so long, in fact, that a Spec’s wine and liquor store was built nearby during our absence! We arrived at 6:15, after spending nearly an hour in rush-hour traffic, with plenty of time remaining before sunset to get set up and ready for Date Night. Chef Cliff fired up the BGE and soon we were enjoying an excellent grilled ribeye with peppers, asparagus, and baked potato. Because temperatures were in the high 60s, we enjoyed an al fresco dinner under the picnic pavilion, complemented by our favorite Ravens Wood old vine zinfandel. After dinner, we caught up on the day’s news, did a quick clean-up, and fell into bed, exhausted.

Saturday found us planning our spring trip to Washington, DC. We’ll travel from Dallas to Nashville for an overnight stay at the KOA outside of Lebanon, then we’ll head to Cherry Hill RV Park just outside of Washington, where we’ll spend a few days exploring the monuments, museums, and memorials in the nation’s capital. Because tours of the White House must be arranged through your Congressional representative well in advance, we contacted Marc Veasey’s office to ask for help in arranging a tour appointment. In addition to the White House, we’re also hoping to tour the Capitol, Supreme Court, and the National Archives (Jon loves admiring the nation’s founding documents). We also plan on visiting the Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and MLK memorials, as well as the WW2, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans memorials. And no trip to DC would be complete without a visit to the Smithsonian, so we’re hoping to see the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its most recent addition (although it’s completely booked through the end of May, so it’s not looking good at this point). We admit, it’s a lot to take in over a short span of time, but we visited the Mighty 5 in five days, so we’re feeling confident.

Sunday was a time to recharge our spiritual and emotional batteries. The news feeds are hard to ignore, but we recognize our need to occasionally unplug and focus on self-care. We hadn’t realized that the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine had taken such a toll on our well-being. We both dream of a world where all humans can live with dignity and security. Perhaps that’s why we chose to work in helping professions. We help without hesitation, without regard to social status or ethnic origin. And while we may be adept at helping those in front of us, we feel helpless when those who need the most assistance are so far away – be they in UkraineSouth Sudan, Afghanistan or Myanmar.

Humanitarian crises are increasingly difficult to solve because of the toxic mix of climate change, smoldering conflicts, and geopolitical constraints. Coping with the stress of human suffering, be it on a small scale (the person in front of us) or on a larger scale (an entire nation), can be overwhelming. Like everyone who has endured the disruption and stress of the pandemic, we have found that these international events are an added threat to our well-being. Perhaps that’s why we spent so much time planning our Washington trip. Concentrating on the details distracts us from the larger, bleaker picture of the world, at least for the time being.