Thursday, July 13, 2006

Great and Small

I spent many summers living and working in the mountains of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Some places just feel like home to me. This is one of them. The camp I worked at was tucked away in what is called the "Brighton Bowl". And there is beauty at every turn. Tall evergreen trees dot the landscape, with aspens intermingled singly and in huge groups throughout. I remember one day walking along a path - the sun was sinking into the western sky, and sunlight was shining behind and through the leaves of an aspen, making them glow a bright yellow-green. That was 13 years ago, and I still remember it clearly.

One of my favorite drives is driving up the canyon to this magical place. The road winds through steep, rugged cliffs. The river tumbles along side the road, over boudlers and ledges. Sometimes it enters a wide wetland area, slows down, and creates beautiful slow, meandering streams. Perfect for a moose or beaver.

The upper part of the canyon was shaped by ancient glaciers which carved huge cirques in the mountain sides, and carried massive boulders from the cliffs high above to the mountain valleys below. Evidence of these glaciers can be seen everywhere in the canyon.

From almost anywhere in the canyon, you can look out or up and the views are incredible. Amazing vistas that are full of sights and sounds. But then each of those large views are made up of small, tiny, individual things. Individual evergreen trees, leaves, rocks, flowers, deer and moose and their droppings. As I was walking along a trail that still had patches of snow on it, I was struck with the beauty of the tiny things. Things that generally I would have missed. But because there was still snow, and because of the way the sun was shining through the trees, I noticed the reds and greens of spruce needles that had fallen, and the smattering of deer droppings here and there.

I am so grateful for the beauties all around us. All we have to do is open our eyes and notice them. From the great majestic landscapes, to the tiny footprints in the mud. From vast hillsides covered in wildflowers to a tiny mayfly hovering, up and down, up and down over a pond.

All things, great and small, bring peace to my soul. I am so grateful for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a nose to smell.

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