Tis the Gift to be Simple, Tis the Gift to be Free

It was another springy day, and after the rains cleared out, my husband and I (and the Tiger!) set off on another adventure. This day's plans included an excellent fish fry for lunch at Couch's, followed by a hike at nearby Greenwood Furnace State Park.

My husband dropped me off by the cemetery, and went and parked the car. I walked around with my camera, taking pictures of the old gravestones, the spillway, and the water (which is high!).

I walked back to the car to find my husband sitting in a chair, reading. And as we sat there, we heard a vehicle pull in that was quite loud. It sounded like the car had tin cans on strings attached to it, rattling along behind it, like when someone gets married.

"That sounds JUST AWFUL," I announced to my husband (who is a cam-head in his own right, Cambria County born and raised). "It sounds like tin cans on a string!" And then the van came down, and drove around the very area where we were sitting, and stopped right in front of us, and the guy rolled down his window, and he spoke:

"You know, it was supposed to be nice weather, and I thought I'd have a good day," he said, bitterly. I looked beneath his vehicle to see that his exhaust system had broken in the middle, and the pipe was hanging down on the ground at a very bad angle, and that was what was rattling. "You've got trouble," I said, sadly; helpfully.

A tiny dog nestled in the stout man's lap began to howl, as the rattling continued. "Dog doesn't like it either," he growled, and shook his head. And drove away! We heard him go up the hill and pull onto a very bad back road, where the rattling sound continued until it disappeared into the distance. We laughed, not at his misfortune, but at the fact that he had sought out the only people in the whole park besides himself to express and share his misery!

"Dude better not back up," my husband said; "he could rip the whole assembly off." So we hope that the dude abides, and that his poochie recovers from the whole traumatic experience of riding in that rattle-trap, on a terrible back road, all the way home.

Then we felt sort of lucky that it wasn't us. And that we were having a good day with no car troubles of our own. And believe you me, I have BEEN that person. We recollected that when we were first dating, I drove my 1974 Ford Torino to Altoona to meet him at the mall, where he was working, selling securities.

Except that along the way to Altoona, my car's exhaust pipe broke, and the muffler and the pipe assembly fell off in the road. I had braided my hair that day, and when I got to the mall, one of the guys working with my boyfriend at the time/husband now, said, "Your girlfriend, Pocahantas, is here!"

When we drove back home that day, my car making quite a racket with its open exhaust, we stopped along the road where I'd dropped the parts, and my husband picked up the exhaust system and tucked it into the backseat. I believe it may have had a warranty on it, and eventually it got fixed, but the rest of the details are fuzzy. Anyway, we know what it is like to have car troubles on the road!

Then we walked over to the furnace stacks, and for the first time ever, we walked on up the hill past them, and into an area that had big fences and some trees, and then some out buildings where they stored stuff like gravel and machines.

There was also a very lovely, old building, which I had to photograph using every single setting I could think of with the camera. I thought it looked very historic, and I'm sure it is. There was a booming town in this location in the 1800s, and the CCC Boys built a lot of stuff in the 1930s. Do I know which era this building is from? I do not, but it sure looks old.

But the thing I like most about this building is its simple shapes and lines. Look at all those circles and squares and straight lines. (The setting I used to get this look was a posterized filter on the camera when I took it, followed by a dramatic cool filter in Photos.) These soothing elements are among the simple gifts of this day.

My soundtrack song has to be this one, as I'm sure you had already guessed: Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma, with Simple Gifts.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we will not be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

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