Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Not So Promised Land

For some reason, I had always pictured Utah as a big desert, and it is, but it is not at all the empty, arid, ugly place that I had thought. I can see why the Mormons feel like this place is a place of refuge, even going so far as to name one of the national parks here Zion. Utah is the kind of infinitely varied and beautifully sculpted desert that makes desert life actually seem appealing.

Salt Lake City is like a moderately well watered garden, with confusing streets and plenty of room to stretch out in. The city spreads out like a blanket to cover the entire valley, the arms of the city reaching far up into the surrounding canyons like roots of a tree, searching for water and nutrients.

There is a feeling about the area, as if everyone is pretending to be happy. Businessmen walk about town in nice suits while soccer moms wearing too much makeup drive SUVs to their small suburban mansions. Parents occasionally yell at their children in the supermarket because their child is “making a scene”. The feeling of false happiness is not all that different from Alabama really, except that Alabamians pretend to be polite, not happy.

The family that I stayed with in SL city was absolutely wonderful. The father runs a successful online business, while the mother, when she is not helping with the business, paints some of the most beautiful landscapes that I have ever seen. My friend took me to the basement and showed me his father’s collection, which includes an AR-15, M-1 Garand which he uses to hunt elk, M-1 Carbine, and a fully restored WWII era model 1911 Colt .45. Like I said, these people were right up my alley.

One of my favorite things about staying with this family is that they are believers. They have what appears to be a very real faith that they walk out in their day to day lives. I am really impressed by people who live in communities that are not supportive of their faith. I can only imagine that living in the Mormon capitol of the world would do a lot to strengthen a person’s walk with the L-rd through trials.

I was only able to stay with the family for two days before heading south and east toward Arches National Park. In my short stay I felt very rested and rejuvenated. I hope that they are blessed by the L-rd for their hospitality to a traveler.

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