Sunday, March 23, 2008

Red Desert

Oh, I had a fabulous weekend.

Knowing that we would be without children for Easter, Todd and I spontaneously hopped in our car for a quick jaunt to the desert to re-charge our batteries. This weekend's road trip was comprised mostly in Zion National Park, however we did make a quick stop in Bryce on our way home. We packed a lot into 2 days and loved every minute of it!

First I should mention that we hate it when our kids are gone and unless we make fun plans, we tend to mope around the house, dwelling in our sorrows. (A bit of an exaggeration - but we hate it, nonetheless).

I have titled my blog 'redhoodoos' for reasons I've not fully disclosed but one could probably surmise. I know I'm not alone in my feelings for Southern Utah and don't profess to being the only one enamored with it's beauty - but being down there does something to my soul. Invariably I am drawn to reflection, to peace, to words - and for a small moment in time, the world seems less abrasive. Less severe.

Growing up, my family would frequently vacation at Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah. I have fond memories of piling into the wood-paneled station wagon, affectionately named 'The Staish", at 4:00 a.m. Now that I'm a parent, I realize my mom and dad left that early because they knew Brian and I would sleep and find little time to fight. Mom would bake a roast the night before and would make us delicious roast beef sandwiches to enjoy on the drive (stuffing us with food was another ploy to keep us from fighting). I'm sure my sandwiches don't taste nearly as good. My cousins and grandparents would meet us there and undoubtedly make the trip fun - always more eventful with Uncle George's tandem bike. Songs and ghost stories around the campfire and bomb-pops from the market made the trip even more unforgettable - the memories indelibly seared into my mind. But it's the scent of Bryce Canyon that reminds me that I'm home. There's a scent carried with the Bryce winds that I've never smelled anywhere else. It is truly Heaven.

I'll never forget the first time I visited Zion National Park at age 17 with my YW group. I recall being awestruck as we entered from the East and I caught my first glimpse outside of the tunnel. It couldn't be real - how could any place on earth be so beautiful?! My pictures from this trip only capture glances of it's beauty.

It was a weekend of renewal for me - appropriate for this Easter weekend. I have yearned to go back since my cancer diagnosis last November. Nothing is more healing or therapeutic than being in the red desert. Surely, there isn't a more beautiful place on this Earth. I was able to breathe the fresh air and be reminded that no problem is too insurmountable.

Tomorrow, undoubtedly, I will be embarrassed with my oozy sap-filled blog entry, so I will end by sharing some of our animal incidents that we endured on the trip.

I met this buffalo after our hike in Zion. Apparently, he had just finished the hike and was as tuckered out as I was. Poor guy. I felt his pain.

This little vagrant begged for food by putting on a sad face. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the "Will look cute 4 food" sign he was holding up. We felt sorry for him, but didn't comply, lest we break National Park rules.

We happened upon the Easter Bunny feeding small children and I noticed a glimmer of hope in Todd's eye. Alas, she didn't stop at our car and I had to buy Todd a chocolate bar instead.

This goat excitedly hopped down the mountain when he heard the Easter Bunny was at the Park.

Todd liked the goatee on this buffalo and made him pose so he could get a better idea of how to grow one for himself.

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