Probably yesterday by the time you hear this, I will have proposed to my now fiance. I wanted to do it earlier, but life held me off from doing it in Utah. Utah wouldn’t let me say what Poland, her home country, was there for. The land needed to be a part of the process.
My fiance grew up a short jaunt south from the shores of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea dominates her stories of childhood. The frigid salt was always in the air, carrying the song of the farthest edge of the world, being inhaled and lived by and because.
When she was 15 she left home to go to a more challenging school and moved to a port city right at the sea’s gate. She went from smells and dreams, to sights and lullabies. Her deepest homeland became centered on its edge.
Near this town, there are the greatest of sand dunes. They were an often visited location by her family growing up, a National Park to take pride in loving. To be closer to them meant to be closer to those memories of belonging. The wild dunes against the wild sea. Momentum affixed with momentum. Pure knowns of land, and beyond. This is the special place.
It’s there that I will have proposed because I love her, and she is only who she is because of this place, so therefore I love it, too. I have to.
I tell this story because here in Utah, we are only who we are because of its place and the elements which make it special, too, for so many. We are full of our own special places with special stories, both past and present. The challenge we are facing, though, is whether we love the very land of Utah enough for it to be included in our future. Do we love Utah enough to refill the Great Salt Lake so that it helps push our snows higher into the mountains with its warm uplifting air, and lets more water flow back for everyone come spring? Do we love Utah enough to plant native flowers instead of lawns, and pick serviceberries over hedges so that our springs still carry the songs of birds? Do we love Utah enough to know that there are no sacred or unsacred places, only the sacred and the desecrated? Do we love Utah enough to keep it a homeland, not just its heart, but its every edge, too?
I say we take the plunge. I say we make it official.
There is a place where we are who we are, and for many of us it is Utah. It may be a memory of Utah long ago. Or maybe you have to really think about if you’ve found it yet. Or maybe you are there right now. Regardless, we all have a place where we can feel free on the edge and heart of our homeland. There is a place which is where we love.
Where is yours today? Where will it be tomorrow?
I’m Patrick Kelly and I’m Wild About Utah
Images: Courtesy & © Patrick Kelly
Audio: Courtesy & © Kevin Colver https://wildstore.wildsanctuary.com/
Text: Patrick Kelly, Director of Education, Stokes Nature Center, https://www.logannature.org
Included Links: Patrick Kelly & Lyle Bingham, Webmaster, WildAboutUtah.org
Wild About Utah, Posts by Patrick Kelly
Stokes Nature Center in Logan Canyon, https://www.logannature.org/