Utah and the Strength of Stone

The shift in energy from Montana to Utah was palpable. It began with the Utah AirBnB host giving us grief (and a biased bill) for our dogs to be included in the reservation, followed by a panicked message the morning we were scheduled to arrive that our month-long stay was canceled. As we were finally ready to hit the road for the long drive, we discovered that our vehicle had a dead battery. A challenging start to the second leg of our drive-about. 

We worked out the canceled reservation (but the host continued with strange communications) and arrived at the remote cabin south of Cedar City, Utah on the evening of November 13th. The experience during the last leg of the drive included an unexpected snowstorm and a scene out the car window that was a bit depressing. After the lush and majestic beauty of both Washington State and Montana, our first impression of where we would spend the next month reminded us of a scene from Mad Max. 

For the first five days we didn’t leave the area, we hunkered down with work, dog walks, and early bedtimes. We determined that this month would be different from the last, there would be no driving to town every day, no gym workouts, no yoga classes, with a whole lot of home cooked meals. This would be a unique experiment in slowing down.

I consciously tried to not let the weird energy from the start impose a bad vibe on the remaining experience, so I immediately established a daily routine of yoga, meditation, walks/hikes, reading, writing, and relationship nurturing. These are my favorite things after all, and this was the perfect opportunity to devote time to wellbeing and growth activities.

 

Behold the Red Rocks of Utah

On our first weekend we ventured on hikes and we were awestruck by the unique and spectacular beauty of the red rock mountains, in particular Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park. I began to develop an appreciation of the beauty in contrast to my hikes in the Pacific Northwest. I grew up horseback riding on muddy trails under the canopy of Douglas Fir and Cedar trees, and later hiking amongst moss and fern lined paths in the always moist Seattle climate. That’s where I have always felt most ‘at home’, but I am discovering that southern Utah’s stark, dry, and bigger than life red rocks hold a different kind of meaning. 

While in Montana I had walked into a local bookstore as they were closing for the day and asked the clerk to suggest a book that would “stretch my mind”. Without hesitation I was handed Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, by Tyson Yunkaporta. I don’t believe in coincidences, so when I read this excerpt and considered my current environment the bias for what I considered beautiful land was challenged:

 

Stone teaches us that we should be strong no matter what tries to

crack us or wear us down, keeping an unbreakable core through your culture and

beliefs. The majority of earth is rock, and while water and plants make up its

surface, the body of the earth, the part that keeps it all together, is rock.

You can have life and creation, but it will all crumble without a solid base.

Same with society, companies, relationships, identities, knowledge – almost

anything both tangible and intangible. Like those forests and trees sitting as

a skin over the rocks of the earth: without that strength inside, without that

stone, it would crumble. – excerpt from Sand Talk, How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, by Tyson Yunkaporta

 

In Reflection 

The best part of our Utah stay was the long Thanksgiving weekend when family came to visit. We had a stress-free holiday and explored the beauty and wonder of Zion National Park together. The familiarity and comfort of being with family was a welcome reprieve from all the newness we are experiencing on our drive-about. 

 

What’s Next

There is one more week left in our Utah stay, and while it’s been interesting, we are eager to move on. The next stop is Sedona, Arizona which is known for its unique energy forces. My yoga mat and mindset are primed and ready for stop number three of our adventures!

For more frequent updates on our great drive-about, follow me on Instagram.

 

Leave a Reply