Jay Meehan: What, me worry?
Park Record columnist
I knew better than to put away my mud boots and Sorrels. This is Utah and all remains in flux. Except, of course, the political climate. Anyway, in these humble digs, foul weather footwear enjoys a long-term lease agreement. Their sleep-wherever-they-fall attitude is part of the feng shui.
I broke the impending weather-shift news to the horses about mid-day Monday while out checking water troughs and the continually morphing horse’s head profile on East Peak of Timpanogos. They took it well. The horses, that is.
The corrals are not close enough to the profile to properly judge its reaction but you can bet the barn that it rolled its eyes. As you can imagine, the snowfields up on Timp don’t suffer fools gladly, and I seem to be their poster child. From both above and below, they have teased me with catastrophe. They seem to enjoy it. You might say their collective smirk is frozen in place.
In a way, the profile is like an Etch-O-Sketch. Each snow event erases whatever erosion data had been imprinted previously. You’ll have that! Refreshing, you might call it. Climate can be holy that way!
No doubt the profile will re-emerge on the mountain and in this space, but later in the process. Especially once it reaches the skeletal stage I refer to as its Rocinante phase. Rocinante is Don Quixote’s nag, the one upon which our fictional knight tilts at windmills in the classic two-part novel by Cervantes from the early 1600s.
While not exactly the Banana Belt, Heber does flaunt a proclivity to rain when a dump is forecast. Being a mischievous sort, it also loves to give you 5 to 10 inches when only a skiff is called for. Way more often than not, I enjoy this schizophrenia. That is not to say, however, that I couldn’t live in shorts, sandals and tee-shirt year-round.
Although I just affirmed my allegiance to both ends of the dichotomy-in-question, it should be admitted forthwith that, if only for its relative lack of mud, the white stuff earns the nod.
If you wished to add BB-sized hail to the mix, however, that has proven to be my very favorite manner in which nature packages moisture. It was during an annual trek into the Grandaddy Basin of the High Uintas Wilderness that preceded one of those Holy-Cow-Ernie-Scow-Powwows up at Defa’s Dude Ranch that I first became smitten.
As the temperature dropped on the hike back to the trailhead the soft rain turned into a quite mellow hail shower. They were so cute, those little round white pellets. As they piled up on various surfaces of my outer rain shell, it was as if they were preening and flirting with me.
I became somewhat hypnotized as they continued to fall and I continued my uphill mosey. The fact that I had become pretty much covered in white and remained totally dry hadn’t been lost on even one as lost-in-the-ozone as I. A quiet, somewhat-musical muttering entered my audio cone. ‘Twas I, as it turned out. Ozone will do that to you.
But I digress, therefore I am. Ozone will also do that to you. Not that I’m sitting here at the keyboard awaiting a great notion of any stripe to prompt the fingertips to action. My muse always has this orange aura in the bullpen to which I can call upon when I find myself slipping behind in the count. It might be too late. I think I’ve walked the bases loaded.
Times like these, when I’m both running on empty and running scared, it’s not as easy as it should be to keep my eye on the ball. It was different back then in Grandaddy. I always treated those treks as dance, both ecstatic and rapturous.
If the truth be known, we, as humans, were edging toward the cliff back then also but we had convinced ourselves we had time enough to reverse the trend. Now, with Trump and the Republicans dug in firmly with climate denial, the reality of impending free-fall becomes all the more obvious. As they say, “Ignorance is bliss.” What, me worry?
We must keep the faith, however. The need to wander our red rock Edens and keep the pressure on congress to protect Bears Ears feels even more pronounced today. One thing is for sure. Reopening fossil fuel extraction leases certainly isn’t the way to reduce current CO2 levels to below 350 parts per million, the level where civilization developed and life as we know it adapted.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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