Monday is a federal holiday in the U.S. – MLK day, in honor of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. We’re so accustomed to seeing him in his prime in the 1960’s that it’s hard to imagine that he would be 88 years old today had he survived.
King was a pastor, activist and born leader. His fiery and often prophetic speeches still ring true today. Though his speeches often invoked images of anger sparked by generations of inequality, his greatest moments, the ones that captured the hearts of all people, were those that reflected on a future of peaceful coexistence.
As part of the King holiday, the National Park Service is waiving all entrance fees for the day. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful places on the planet, places that belong to all Americans. In our local neck of the woods, that means an opportunity to enjoy some white, white sand and salty air while watching shorebirds run hither and thither along the shore.
True, bringing cats to the National Seashore is frowned upon – something about attacks on local wildlife. And we will admit, we do tend to see all those fantastic creatures, from birds to crabs to tiny mice, as wonderful new toys. Dogs may be more welcome – if they’re on a leash. Which is something only a dog would do…. okay, and some very strange cats.
But humans are certainly welcome and if we could, we would certainly leap at the opportunity to run along the sand, feeling that wonderful fine grit between our toes. And that air – few odors are as invigorating as fresh salt air. Even Big Fat has been known to perk up and turn positively frisky in ocean air.
MLK told of a world where all people could live in a peace, living their lives without fear of their neighbor, where everyone had the opportunity to succeed and to make the most of the skills that they had. What better way to celebrate his birthday then to spend time in the National Parks, that place of unwavering equality. No separate paths, no separate viewing stations – all are welcome, all entitled to enjoy the same amazing world that exists in these treasures. So head out to your nearest park for some relaxing communal time with nature – and don’t forget to take a moment to reflect on what equality means to you.