We all have a list of big things we’d like to see before we die. Here are a few of mine, in no particular order:
1. The Hagia Sophia. When I took AP Art History in high school, this was the building I fell in love with. The Hagia Sophia has been both a basilica and a mosque, but I want to see it for its clerestory, a window-lined wall that rises above the roofline of the surrounding walls. The Hagia Sophia’s clerestory is just below its dome, and they say that at certain times of day, when the light’s shooting through those windows at just the right angle, the dome looks like it’s hovering on a cloud of light. I’d like to see what a cloud of light looks like.
2. Italy, any or all of it. I’m not picky.
3. New York City. I’ve had a fascination with this city for a long time, even before I started trying to publish a book:) When Honey Bear got to go there on a mock trial trip before we were married, I was supremely jealous. (He was kind enough to bring me back a New York City T-shirt, though, which I still wear proudly.)
4. The Grand Canyon. I live, like, an hour away from the North Rim (if I don't mind taking a four-wheeler up and over a mountain on a gravelly trail), but I’ve still never been there. Maybe when I-gots is a little older, we’ll have to make the trip (though I think I’d prefer going the long way around in a car).
5. Angel Falls. Have you seen that shot in the BBC’s Planet Earth, when the camera sweeps over the top of Angel Falls and down the drop-off? It’s not the world’s tallest waterfall for nothing.
6. Ireland. (See the comments.)
7. An erupting volcano. I'd prefer not to be in the path of the erupting volcano, but hey, if I ever am, at least I'll be able to check another thing off my list. Gotta look on the bright side, right?
8. The Mississippi River, 'cause it's huge. Have you seen how huge it is? Out here in the West, our rivers come in medium, small, and so small a three-year-old can hop across them.
And here are a couple of big things I’ve already seen:
1. Yellowstone. I’ve even stood thirty feet down a boardwalk from a wild buffalo. A herd happened to come through the patch of mud pots we happened to be looking at, and when I broke through a knot of people, well, there it was. My little sister was with me, so I muttered to her, “Let’s just put our heads down and back away slowly.” If a park ranger had been there, he or she probably would have had a fit.
2. The Alamo, which is actually much smaller than it looks. I lived in San Antonio for about a year as a kid, and we visited the Alamo several times. My dad is something of a war history buff.
I might come back and add to this list over the next few days or weeks, but for now, I’ll just turn the question back around to you. What big things would you like to see before you die, and which ones have you already seen?