It was a moonless night. The sky was cloudy and I could only see the patch of hazy stars that were directly above me. The horizon was almost pitch black, something rare, to have so little amount of light pollution. My eyes could barely pick out the dark outlines of the buttes and spires that during the daylight resemble seven sailors, a sitting hen, a battleship, and a castle. They were now just a slightly darker shade of black sitting quietly. In the far distance I could see one and then two car headlights, weaving far from me, weaving down the Moki Dugway. The crickets chirp persistently, not the annoying kind of way, but rather soothing. Strangely the dark night and the crickets remind me of laying in bed back in high school while living in Shanghai. This was way before the Shanghai of today. This was back in the late 90s, when the area we lived was still surrounded by farms, and the evenings were so quiet that I would listen to crickets and frogs chirp and croak away until I fell asleep. And somehow, so many years later I’m still reminded of those nights in a place that is so different from Valley of the Gods.
I have to admit that I am tired of using the words beautiful, incredible, spectacular, impressive and all other synonyms. I feel like I’m running out of words to describe the places that we are going to. Or I’m overusing these words and they will soon sound trite. But I’m not sure how else to convey what I see. How I am constantly amazed by where we end up. We keep driving to places that I’ve seen photos in art galleries and films. We end up in areas that I’ve read descriptions of in magazines and books. And now I’m standing here, seeing it all in person. And I’m speechless. Not really, I have a lot to say, but usually I’m repeating the same thing as I look at these gorges, canyons, peaks, mountains, sunrises, sunsets, cliffs, mesas, forests, rivers, lakes…the list continues and each day I’m finding something new to mutter banal words about.
But what I realize is that the world is worth saving, the world is worth living out of the norm to be sustainable, the world is worth honoring so even if we all die it still continues with all its beauty and glory. Because it’s so magnificent that we owe it to put it before ourselves. Sometimes I feel defeated when I try so hard to be good about my carbon footprint only to watch others mindlessly toss trash out their windows or leave the water running while they brush their teeth. But then I stand in the middle of all these spires and buttes and mesas in a variety shade of red with wildflowers growing in nooks and crannies and I think – it’s worth feeling defeated sometimes, but it doesn’t mean I actually am. I remind myself that my actions matter. My actions speak to someone, something, somewhere. The greatest harm I can do is not act. Not be proactive in what I believe in.