Thursday, September 23, 2004

Autumnal Thoughts

This is my favourite time of year. That may seem a little strange to some people, particularly those who see Autumn as the time when everything either dies or goes into hibernation. While that may be true, I still love this season. My reasons are many. I think I will take a cue from a friend and list them here for you.

Why I love Autumn
- The colours of the leaves, especially the Aspens in the mountains
- The cool and crisp air in the evenings following the warmth of the sunny days
- The smell in the air, particularly in the mountains
- The relief of cooler days after a long hot summer
- Football
- This is the time I usually travel down to Arches National Park and the Moab area
- Wearing short sleeves during the day and a jacket at night
- Early season snowfall in the mountains
- Crisp apples, right off of the tree
- Squirrels scurrying about, cheeks stuffed with winter's food supply
- The first morning frost
- Sleeping with the window open and plenty of blankets on the bed
- The smell of wood smoke from someone's fireplace
- That feeling of melancholy that creeps over me sometimes, saying that another year is coming to an end
- Hay rides
- Corn mazes
- And many more I cannot really articulate

Those are a few of the concrete reasons Autumn is my favourite time of year. There are many more ephemeral reasons—feelings, memories, emotions—that defy my meager attempts to put them into words. Perhaps the greatest reason is that it is finally cool enough in Southern Utah for me to go enjoy the beauty there. It is also the season that fewer people are visiting, so there are opportunities for solitude, surrounded by beauty, that one does not often get.

I guess it is also appropriate that this season should bring the news I received this morning. I have just been laid off from the company I have worked for the last seven years. I have felt it coming for a long time as the department I work in was reduced to myself and one writer. I was hoping it would last at least a couple of months longer, but that is just the way things work out sometimes. It comes just before my 40th birthday as well (as if dealing with turning 40 wasn't enough). I find myself hoping that this change will be one for the better.

That's all for now. I can't decide whether to go celebrate or just go vegetate for awhile. What a life.

Friday, September 17, 2004

A Celebratory Note

I know, twice in one day may seem a little much, but I had to post this. One of the things I do is help out the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance by writing letters and making my voice heard to help out with legislation and other activities meant to protect the amazing beauty of Southern Utah. Recently, the Price BLM office released their draft Resource Management Plan for the Price region and, as part of the plan, they addressed motorized vehicle use in the area. Their preferred plan was to simply designate anything that could be misconstrued as a "road" as open to motorized vehicles. The map they included to illustrate this proposal looked like a massive web of trails running everywhere over the region. To make matters worse, there had been some indication from Sally Wisely, state head of the BLM, that she supported this plan. Now, Ms. Wisely recently made remarks to the effect that the BLM was going to look at all the trails in the state and decided which ones would be designated for motorized use and which to make off-limits. Her seeming endorsement of the Price plan completely contradicted her stated intentions in favor of a "let them have everything" policy. Once I heard of this, I wrote a letter to Ms. Wisely expressing my amazement that she would be willing to let this happen. Now, I have used ATVs and dirt bikes and had a lot of fun on them, but I still do not think they should be given free reign on our public lands. All one has to do is drive from Salt Lake to Moab to see what irresposible use of these vehicles can do to the land. Anyway, I emailed a copy of my letter to Margi Hoffman at SUWA and she suggested I send an abridged and revised version of it to the Salt Lake Tribune as a letter to the editor. I was more than happy to and my letter was actually printed in Tuesday's paper. The editor even expressed his thankfulness that I had written the letter when he called to get approval to print it. Having it printed was quite a thrill for me (my first words in print...very exciting), but the real thrill came this morning. I received an e-mail from Margi Hoffman stating that my letter to the editor had caused quite a stir in the Price and state BLM offices and they are now focusing on a comprehensive travel plan. I was amazed to find this out. I have written letters and done these things because I have felt a moral obligation to have my voice heard. I have long thought that one voice has little effect, but I was still obligated to speak out because my convictions mean nothing if I do not act on them. To my amazement, I have now seen that one voice can make a difference and I am very glad that I chose to speak up. Nothing may ultimately come of this, but at least they are aware that some people out here want our land protected. If this is singing my own praises, then I hope you will forgive me for doing so. I just had to share this little victory.

New Place, New Beginning

Hi all. This is not my first ever blog, but sometimes when you find a nicer place to live you just have to move. A dear friend of mine also uses this site and I was so impressed that my old blog just looked dreary by comparison. So I have decided to pull up stakes and bring myself over to my new home on the web.

What you read here could be just about anything. Doing this is a form of catharsis for me; it allows me to give substance to my thoughts and share them with anyone who may (or may not) be interested. I don't expect everyone to agree with me (far from it) and, sometimes, coming back to things I have written in the past, I find that my opinions have been changed after further consideration or additional information. In that way it also becomes a tool for personal growth. It is also very helpful to me to see opposing points of view, so if you stumbled across this and something I have said makes you feel like commenting, please do. I may also use this as a way to stay in touch with friends and family from time to time. It is defintely a work in progress if you will, always changing, always unpredictable (or so I hope).

So I begin anew. The ironic thing is that I really don't have any stray thoughts needing collecting just now. I just wanted to write something to turn the lights on in my new place and let everyone know that someone is indeed home. I think I'll just sit back and enjoy the surroundings for a little while.