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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Relaxing up one side and down the other in Utah.

Mr and Mrs Philocrites wish you were here!Ah! Mrs Philocrites and I vacationed this summer with a truckload of relatives who had gathered from the four corners of the continent to my parents' home in Orem, Utah, "Family City USA." Then the two of us scooted off to Southern Utah for several days of high-speed site-seeing.

Worth mentioning about our Orem visit: It's a lot harder now to get tickets to the Timpanogos Cave than it was when I was a kid, so we scratched that outing. The dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point is a lot of fun with kids. (I now have six nieces and nephews, all adorable. The youngest even has red hair!) Formerly sleepy Lehi, Utah, may become the home to an 85-acre mixed-use development designed by Frank Gehry, which simply blows my mind. Mormon family pictures gulp down vast quantities of time; perhaps the LDS slogan should be: "Family Pictures Can Be Forever." And the (new to me) BYU Museum of Art has a rather nice American art collection; Mrs P and I are new fans of the work of Maynard Dixon and Mahonri Young.

During our four-day excursion through Southern Utah, we visited the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Arches, plus a handful of towns my ancestors helped settle in San Juan County. (Okay, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley are in Arizona.) I can't claim it was the sort of vacation where you slow down, get back to nature, and get reacquainted with the stars, but it was very nice all the same. I did pick up a wonderful book about paying careful attention to nature, however: Ellen Meloy's Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild.

What makes a road trip especially fun? The audiobook version of The Two Towers! We had started listening to The Fellowship of the Ring during an early summer drive through Vermont, when the scenery greatly enhanced our appreciation of the Shire. And now Frodo and Sam's trek into Mordor is tied up with my mental picture of the barren 100-mile stretch of I-70 west of Moab. I wonder where to drive while listening to the final book?

A fine vacation, but not nearly as relaxing as last year's week beside a Finnish lake. Final note: The French seem to have discovered southeastern Utah in a big way; the motels where we stayed in Bluff and Moab were heavily populated with French families. We marveled at how far they had come.

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:05 PM

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August 14, 2007 10:10 PM | Permalink for this comment

The photo, by the way, was Mrs Philocrites' idea during our late afternoon hike to Landscape Arch.

Lois Reborne:

August 15, 2007 08:32 AM | Permalink for this comment

Wow, what an amazing church music site! I'm from a new UU congregation in a rural area of Missouri. I hope the UUA and UU Musicians are looking at how to make our church music more accessible in modern ways like this. I think it is sad that there's not music on the Worship Web for example, or available online as part of CLF's subscription service for very small congregations.
Surely there are ways to respect copyright and fairly compensate composers while making some music available. Lead on, LDS!


August 15, 2007 09:11 AM | Permalink for this comment

I hope your memories of this trip enrich you and Mrs P for as many decades as I have been blessed by memories of childhood excursions to those sites. The forced march feeling quickly passes, being merely the sensations of a mortal vehicle, while awe of the eternal lingers for decades. I would say "forever" but I haven't yet lived that long!


August 15, 2007 09:44 AM | Permalink for this comment

Lois is referring to the LDS Church Music site, which offers a rich multimedia presentation of Mormon music, including sheet music and audio files. It's incredibly sophisticated.


August 15, 2007 09:24 PM | Permalink for this comment

I have to admit that that the LDS music site is great. and hey wouldn't "Should You Feel Inclined to Censure" fit in the UU hymnal?

hafidha sofia:

August 19, 2007 12:59 AM | Permalink for this comment

That photo, Chris, is both really good and creepy! I can't stop looking at it, but it scares the bejeezus out of me!


August 19, 2007 09:53 PM | Permalink for this comment

Hafidha, imagine how we felt we turned the corner on the trail and saw our shadows posing like this! At least they seemed to be enjoying themselves.


August 24, 2007 10:40 AM | Permalink for this comment

Surprising Utah tidbit: While we were visiting earlier this month, Mrs Philocrites and I went into several supermarkets — and saw a glossy Barack Obama bio in the checkout lines. Mind you, this is the state where Bill Clinton came in third. I cannot recall ever seeing a Democrat who would have sold significant numbers of anything in a Utah supermarket. While we were in Utah, Obama even dropped by for a rally and fundraiser.

And now perhaps I know why: Obama is the only Democrat with measurable crossover appeal to Republicans. I wonder how many of my Mormon relatives would vote for Obama (if Romney doesn't end up the Republican nominee).

("Obama expected small turnout in Republican Utah - got rally of 500," Glen Warchol and Dawn House, Salt Lake Tribune 8.6.07; "Barack Obama's Republican edge," Michael Scherer, Salon 8.24.07)

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