|World Trip Home||Post Two|
In Moab we met up with my cousin Jeff who was participating in a mountain bike race. The 24 Hours of Moab is an endurance relay race where teams of up to 5 riders continuously ride around a 15-mile technical course. As the name suggests, it lasts for 24 hours and the riders take turns riding through the day, evening, and night (with headlamps). Since I wasn't riding, I volunteered to work the midnight to six a.m. shift checking riders in and out. This is an intense ride and I saw riders in various states of exhaustion. The motto of the ride is "when experience goes beyond words, life begins to have meaning". I think a more general rule is to experience life you should kick yourself out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. This photo shows Jeff coming in after his first lap on the course - still wearing the marks of a wreck.
My cousins Jeff and Patti have a one-year-old daughter Sara. It's always interesting being with children as they are learning about the world around them. Not only is Sara the cutest child around, but she is also (generally) very well tempered. It was nice to be among my family again, whom I rarely see. When we were working I always felt bad not being able to visit my family more because of the limited vacation time we had. Now we are making a point of spending time with those we didn't have enough time for before.
While visiting my cousins in Vail, we went out hiking every day. You can literally hike right out the back door up into the forests that surround the area. We arrived just as the Aspens were finishing their colors. Here at 7,000 feet, winter was just around the corner. It was peaceful there in a way that you never get in Seattle. Being in the city is great but you get out of touch with the seasons, the environment, and perhaps yourself. I have come to realize I need regular periods when I can be alone to collect and organize my thoughts. Although not impossible in the city, it is much easier to do out in nature. This photo is a grove of Aspens we passed on one of our hikes.
We had the pleasure of spending about two weeks with Karen's parents. They bought a camper about a year ago and so we met up with them to tour Moab, Grand Junction and Park City. It was great seeing them again and we luxuriated in their heated spacious camper. It was almost like being in their home. They cooked great food and we spent our evenings working on crossword puzzles and just relaxing together. I like this picture of Karen. I think it shows how we both felt being able to spend so much time with them.
|Dogs in Park City|
After Colorado we came back into Utah to visit our in-laws John and Maura. Like Patti and Jeff they have a home that backs up onto hills where you can hike. We took the dogs out walking just about every day. They would run ahead sniffing interesting things while we enjoyed just being outside again. We often saw deer and one day we saw a huge moose. Being with the dogs was refreshing because they never tired of the same hike, always being excited just to be out. I think that is one of the reasons people like dogs as pets. Being around such optimism is refreshing.
|Me and Molly|
Children can be just as refreshing as dogs. Molly is almost two years old and her capacity for learning is amazing. I was introduced to her once and she remembered my name from that point on (actually she called me 'sot'). We spent a lot of time playing and we each taught each other things. If I showed her something once (like using her popup game to shoot blocks across the room) she got it immediately. Her lessons for me took me a little longer to comprehend. It's too bad that your capacity for learning decreases over time. And unfortunately, you don't realize that until you have passed that period. I would love to go back and learn French or how to play the piano with a child's mind. Perhaps you still have the capacity but age clouds your mind with doubt. Perhaps I CAN learn the piano or how to speak French without an accent and I just don't think I can.
While in Utah it is impossible to ignore the presence of the Mormon Church (more accurately called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). They were something of a mystery to me since I was raised in the Midwest where they are not as prevalent (although perhaps I just was unaware). Regardless of what one thinks about them (and most people do have an opinion one way or another), I am impressed at their ability to create and populate a religion so successfully and so quickly. The last great religion (besides communism) to have been founded was Islam - and that was over a thousand years ago. While in Utah, I read parts of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price (the main LDS religious texts). The texts alone didn't really explain the lure of the church, nor was I satisfied with the conversations I had with the elders and missionaries we met around Utah. I am fascinated with the concept of religion in general since it is the closest thing we have today to popular philosophy. If you can identify themes common in all religions then I believe you will come to a greater understanding of the human condition. This is a photo of the main temple from Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I'm not sure where the hazy image over the center temple came from, but I found it interesting and left it in. Perhaps it was a raindrop.
The snow finally caught up to us in Park City. I took this photo of snow crystals on our last hike before we left. Winter was now in the mountains and our time was running short. We wanted to be in Dallas by the beginning of December. So, with our van running rough from the cold, we left Park City and headed south toward Texas.
Scott & Karen Semyan