Let us begin our examination in comparisons. Both photos have clouds. The photo on the left features a pollution cloud filled with smog particulates from an inversion that hangs over the otherwise picturesque valley of Salt Lake. The clouds on the right are happy little clouds filled with H20 and little else.
Both have lines. The ones on the left are power lines that crisscross the city and disrupt views of the mountains- which are visable when the city isn't blanketed in yellow air. The lines on the left are chairlift cables that whisk you up to incredibly clear views of unobstructed panoramas.
Both pictures have people. The people on the left are hidden in buildings and cars- boxes that keep them from interacting with the outdoors- which is probably a good thing since they'd otherwise be sucking in the chemicals floating in the city air. The people on the right are fully exposed to the outdoor elements- a good thing because up in the clean mountain air, they are filling their lungs with freshness, getting vitamin D from the sun, and awakening their senses with crisp air.
|About to escape the "cloud"|
Yesterday I had about enough of this. I didn't move to Utah to be closed indoors with curtains drawn to avoid a sickening yellow cloud. The air in my apartment, being closed up against the outdoors couldn't be that much better for me. I had to get out and the only place I could think to go was up.
|Yes, Virginia, there IS a sun!|
As I zoomed (having a Mazda, this is the adjective I am trained to use) up Big Cottonwood Canyon, the muck persisted until, by what seemed a providential sign that I was nearing a place I hold sacred, I spotted a peak touched by golden afternoon sun. "The sun still exists!" I smiled to myself as I pulled over to snap a photo.
Arriving at Solitude Resort, my spirits soared. Sun- everywhere. Tiny wisps of clouds in an otherwise bluebird sky. People freely playing outdoors with no concern for the health of their lungs. And other than people laughing and chatting with each other, a peaceful stillness that quieted the city buzz that had been ringing in my ears.
For the first time since being back in Utah, I felt at home. I felt rejuvenated, alive, alert, and strangely clean. Taking a few runs, I felt how surprisingly soft the snow felt on the sides of the trails and heard the laughter of children as they trailed parents or toppled over a skis. This is what I was used to at Christmas time- a winter wonderland of bundled up folks sporting rosy cheeks and smiles. This is what I had been missing in the valley.
My Christmas tip: Head up to the mountains, my friends. Bring your skis and play. Create some sunny winter memories to replace the gray here below. Trust me, you'll feel Christmas the way it's meant to be.