Friday, April 10, 2009

Saved by Stories

So the kids and I hike along the rim, awed by the breathtaking views of hoodoo-ville. For me, this moment in the basin is full of contrasts. Rusty, oxidized limestone against the stark white fallen snow. Those same crimson hoodoos juxtaposed against the deep green of the pinyon pines. It's a beautiful menagerie of color and texture and line, and it fills my eye with possibilities. 

The one, not-so-nice contrast is that of my kids. My sweet children burst with complaints about the hike. Too hot (the temp was perfect.) Too far (under 2 miles!) Too steep (320 feet elevation gain. Not that bad.) I put on my "I can ignore this" face. I'm sweet. Calm. Nothing can ruin this trip into hoodoo paradise. But as soon as it starts, the complaining stops. We approach a tower of three hoodoos and we begin to tell stories. We are SAVED by stories. Imagination takes over and the kids forget they were so mad at me. The 3-hoodoo tower is quickly named "The Three Kings," and it is they who guard the next hoodoo fort. "Sand King, Rock King, and Sun King," according to Nova. Grayson names them "Sando, Stonley, and Hou." As we follow the trail and limestone arches, we immerse ourselves in the whos and whats of our red rock story. There are few people, and peace moves through us. Through the rock. The clean air. Cumulus formations. Before we know it, we are in the midst of Queen Victoria herself! We bow before her as she stands regally above us, holding in her hand what the kids think is a book. Maybe a book of her own hoodoo stories. Behind her, they find a king to complete the duo. We eat. Dried cranberries. String cheese. Trail mix. And the hike is complete. 

No, nobody worshipped the hoodoos. But they do tell stories, just like humans. The paeloindians that date back 10,000 years. The Fremont indians from 1000 years ago. The Pauite up until a century ago. And the Mormon settlers that arrived in the late 1800s. We all reflect upon life with our own experiences. Our own visions. The hoodoos make for endless tales. Tales of queens and kings. Castles and forts. And the rusty limestone rocks tells stories of dinosaurs. The birth of mountains, and long lost oceans.  

What we see in our minds. What we see spread out before us. All beautiful contrasts. Beautiful stories that nurture our hearts and minds. How lucky to be saved. Saved by stories.   

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