Snow caps and canyons, red rocks and bushy grounds – those were some of the sights I gazed at as the captain announced, “We will be touching down in St. George, Utah in just a few minutes. Flight attendants prepare for landing.”
I looked at the land we were descending towards in complete amazement. Just a few hours before I had seen cow pastures surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Now all I saw was endless red mountains and deep valleys. Without even realizing it, I murmured to myself, “Oh the places you’ll go.” It was something I hadn’t thought through, but it naturally fit for this experience.
After a quick landing, I got up to grab my backpack and exit into this Wild West frontier. The passenger behind me said, “What day did you go?” Slightly confused, I asked what he was referring to. He pointed at my hat and said, “The Master’s, what day did you go?” Before long we were deep into conversation about golf and what brought each of us to this tourist destination. Neither of us were here for the excursions offered at Zion National Park. He is in Utah for work and I was too, even though it often doesn’t feel like it. My new friend was quick to point that out. Once I shared with him that I was here for a professional golf tournament, he responded, “Wow the places I bet you get to go.”
In response, I smirked and thought, “Oh the places you’ll go.” It brought me back to my high school graduation nearly six years ago. After turning my tassel and receiving my diploma, my family and I went home to celebrate. As per tradition, each family member wrote a letter of advice to me that was to be read that night. Each one had their own unique perspective that reflected their personality. For today, I am going to focus on the words my oldest sister, Devon, shared with me.
In June of 2016, Devon had finished her master’s in teaching and was getting ready to begin her career in education. In true teacher fashion, she paired a book with her letter to me. The book? “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. At that moment, my eyes were fixed on the next few years at the University of North Carolina. I wasn’t thinking much past that. The rest of my family, Devon in particular, had more in mind. I read Dr. Seuss’s wise words that night and hadn’t touched the book since. However, after my murmur from seat 2A flying over mountains that looked like a Dr. Seuss town, it seemed like a time to open that book again.
When I got to my hotel room, I downloaded “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I always thought of Dr. Seuss as goofy, his work filled with alliterations and rhymes that reflect a child’s mind. The joke’s on me. Of all the inspiring works I’ve read this one might be at the top.
Who would have thought that of all the books I’ve bought, Dr. Seuss would be the one I most sought?
Hidden behind Seuss’s child-like rhymes are lessons in life that we all need to find.
With rhythm and wit, he covers it all, from the initial ascent to our biggest first fall.
I’d say it myself, but Seuss says it much better, even exceeding my sister's own letter.
So here are my highlights from a book of great insight.
“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high-fliers who soar to high heights.”
“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true, that Bang-Ups and Hang-Ups can happen to you...
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
“A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
“Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
“How much can you lose? How much can you win?” ...
“With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!” ...
“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
“There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winningest winner of all.
“Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
“Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
“I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
“All Alone! Whether you like it or not. Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.”
Looking at the mountains of Utah and thinking about the years since my sister’s gift, an addendum to Seuss’s words came to mind.
Oh the places I’ve gone, and the people I’ve met
The lessons I’ve learned, and the ones coming yet,
I’ve soared high in the sky with my greatest achievements,
Then plopped to the ground with some painful bereavement.
I marched through dark tunnels, no light in plain sight,
And met two young women in similar plight.
Where must we go, three golfers named Brynn?
Myself, me, and I, taking life on the chin.
On a journey together, and alone with just me,
I’ve looked deep at myself, and the others that be
Around me on Tour, on the road, and at home,
Lonely at times, but never alone.
Maybe that is the person I needed to see,
Climbing more mountains, myself, I and me.
It would be a shame not to mention the reasons,
For all of these travels through all of these seasons.
It’s chasing a ball, for mile upon mile,
The love of the game, mostly bringing a smile.
So, thank you for listening, and now you all know,
What it’s like when I say, Oh, the places we go!