Friday, September 30, 2011
Good-bye Salt Lake City, Hello to the Real Utah
The ride was beautiful through the country, especially when we turned off Int. 15 and turned onto Utah 20 to go over the mountains and then onto US 89 down the valley. But the really incredible views began when we got to Utah 12. We drove into Red Canyon with bright red-orange rock formations, tunnels cut thorugh the mountain, and towering cliffs on either side of us.
This, to me, is the real Utah, the rugged natural landscape that celebrates the rugged individualism of the people who settled this great state. Larry read me an entry about the early settlers of Panguitch which is about 25 miles from Bryce Canyon. We passed through it on our way and will return on Sunday to attend Mass there. The early settlers had a difficult first winter when the crops failed. They were starving, so an intrepid group of men set off to Parowan about 40 miles away to get food for the settlement. The ox-drawn wagons couldn't make it through the deep snow, so the men abandoned them and used quilts to walk the entire way - putting one down, walking across it and putting down another in front while they retrieved the quilt behind. The town still celebrates the "Panguitch Quilt Walk."
That story speaks to the spirit of the people who settled this country. What a courageous band. Would that we had that same spirit in facing the challenges of today. We are stewards, individuals created in God's image and entrusted with the care of this beautiful country and the people in it beginning with the least ones, the little babies in the womb waiting to be born. May we be faithful stewards quick to respond like those men whose ingenuity and courage saved their families from starvation.