Ken Burn’s documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” highlights the wonder, majesty, and necessity that perserving the wonders that surround us. There seems to be an infinite connection with observing nature and understanding one’s connection with the divine/universe. The forefather and driving force for the creation and maintanence of our natural parks not only was an avid adventure man/wilderness expert but a spiritual seeker. He states, “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” (John Muir) The sojourn to nature is used throughout the centuries and throughout the cultures.
My parents were instrumental in showing me the awe and beauty that surrounds me. Some of my earliest memories are of our family road trips up and down the state of California going from national park to state park. It was at the Grand Canyon that I heard the voice of my Savior telling me that the power it took to make that beautiful masterpiece was the same power and beauty that made me. It was the trees of the mighty General Grant at Sequoia/Kings Canyon that I started to see the rhythms and purpose of my life. Yet again Muir states, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” (John Muir) It is through nature that I am always reminded to always be positive, to always strive to do good, be good, and love instead of hate. It is nature that reminds me that the universe is all connected.
It is with this in mind that I made sure to carve out time to visit two different national parks while I was driving through Utah. I had been to Zion National Park as a kid. The colors had stayed in my mind’s eye and it was even more special as it was one of the first stops I made on my crazy solo journey across country. I felt emboldened doing something adventurous on my own. I walked along the river at the Temple of Sinnewawa and listened to the sounds of nature seep into my being. It was the recharging of courage, fortitude, and wonderment that I needed to complete my journey.
While Zion was lovely, it was Arches National Park that was truly calling me. I left Salt Lake City in the early morning so that I would have enough time to wander and soak it all in. The drive alone was magically. Full of colors streaming over the open plains, rocks, and canyons through the mist and sunrise. It felt like every mile was not only a mile closer to the park but to a new me. The red rocks were magnanimous. It was interesting the amount of stares that I received by other visitors when they saw that I was alone. It caused me to yet again think, would they look that strangely on a solo man? Why is it so weird or concerning to see a young woman wanted to experience the awesomeness of Arches?
The mighty awesomeness of nature, of its beauty, and its place in the grand scheme of things helps to become a visible reminder to why, what, and who we all are. It is also a reminder that even nature experiences change and imperminance. The mighty arches succomb to gravity and erosion and will eventually disappear. Just like each and every one of us must wax and wane in our human existences. We must remember that we all carry purpose, even our deaths allow for new generations to come forth. While our physical appearances will disappear, the aftermaths, the remnants, and the connections we make will always continue on.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” (John Muir)