Some of my most treasured moments occur on the drives through New Mexico that we often complete. Many people would look at the endless acres of cacti, bushes, and bare ground as boring or unattractive. To me, it’s beauty to be treasured in simplicity.

Yes, the magnificent old buildings of Europe are memorable, as are the Rocky Mountains, Pacific coast, and New England. But there is something to be said for the untouched, undeveloped landscapes that we can find whenever we look for them.

For example, we often visit Illinois, place of my birth and the location of Chicago, the most wonderful city anywhere. Before reaching Chicago, however, we are privileged to see acres and acres of cornfields and soybeans that are trademarks of the state. Beauty to be found in cornfields? Yes, without a doubt. This country’s history is based on the hard work and diligence of our agriculture. There is no better place to see that history in the fields of whatever the crop found throughout our country.

Cities can be as beautiful as the pristine fields of corn, wheat, soybeans, or anything else. The lakeshore of Chicago is a breathtaking sight, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. Some of the scenes I’ve observed of New York that were taken from the air confirm that it is a magnificent, vibrant place. And I have loved Rome, Madrid, Florence, and Monte Carlo, each with its particular version of timeless beauty.

But my point remains that there is unmistakable splendor in that which is free of buildings, roads, and historical attractions. Too often, we drive through states without taking the time to observe those areas that are untouched or unmarred by civilization.

Maybe this is ultimately a comment about people and those to whom I best relate. If our philosophies consist of integrity, treating others with kindness, and giving more than we receive – that’s really all that makes life worth living. We still appreciate our philosophers, life coaches, and historians. But to me, simple is good. You never have to apologize for doing the right thing. Shalom.

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