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  • Writer's pictureKaren Hunnicutt-Meyer

A good Life Lived

Someone once remarked, "A good life lived is a collection of happy memories." As I delve into the projects that require me to sift through thousands of images amassed on my journey, I am irresistibly drawn to those that narrate my story – my anthology of memories.

One such moment etched in time is July 17, 2013, marking the culmination of one of my initial road trips through the vast expanse of the West. The preceding seven days had unfolded with a cascade of adventures – storms sweeping across the plains, encounters with ghosts, camping in less-than-ideal locations, and even a rendezvous with grizzly bears. The night preceding the capture of this image, I found myself fatigued and weathered after a grueling drive from Wyoming to the Badlands. Exhausted, hungry, and looking worse for wear, I sought only a place to rest.

An attempt at an RV Park along the interstate met with unexpected disdain from a pompous staff member who callously rejected my request, declaring, "We don't take your kind here. There's a truck stop up the road – sleep there!" Leaving in tears, my apprehension about sleeping at a truck stop was fueled by the shadows of murder mysteries. The fear, however, was short-lived. In the darkness, a sign led me to a KOA campground, where, despite my initial misfortune, a kind stranger and his son offered me refuge at their site.

As I settled in, my grateful heart received an unexpected banquet. The strangers, who became newfound friends, invited me to join them for dinner – a feast of steaks, brats, beans, potatoes, and cold beer. Amidst the warmth of a campfire, we shared stories, and my heart swelled with gratitude. That night, I retired to bed with a heart overflowing with thanks.

The following morning, before the sun had painted the Badlands with its hues, I embarked on an early journey. Finding a spot to pull over, I perched on a cliff, camera in hand, witnessing the unfolding masterpiece of dawn. To my left, a ram emerged, standing on a ledge, exchanging glances with me before settling down to watch the sunrise together. Tears streamed down my face once again, and in that poignant moment, I realized what had been missing in my life – my soul.

That trip was transformative, a catalyst for change. I yearned for more adventures, understanding that not all would be picturesque, yet all were essential for the journey. The quest for my soul became a lifelong pursuit, woven into the fabric of gratitude that now colors every chapter of my existence.


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