Jay Meehan: Spacing out
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
Admittedly, I get too worked up over our current land use debate. I could probably use an upgrade in meds. Although a still highly enjoyable pursuit, self-medication certainly doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.
I may have stumbled upon something, however. While recently agonizing over the zoning future of the North Fields here in Heber Valley, I opted to check out whatever videos of meetings between our governmental councils and planning commissions might be available online.
Not being much of an “engaged” citizen, I tend to keep my distance – unless, of course, marches with torches and pitchforks or good honky-tonk bands at local watering holes beckon. As it turned out, had I actually attended the joint session-in-question, they’d probably still be shoving smelling salts up my nose.
A caveat, however. If you choose to dip your toe into the somewhat fetid waters of cyberspace as a way of following city and county fathers going about the business of their constituents, do not combine with drugs or alcohol or start at one hundred and count backwards.
In other words, retaining consciousness as they methodically work through that day’s agenda does not appear to be an option.
If your computing device of choice cannot be manipulated via artificial intelligence from a pillow-festooned couch, sofa, davenport, or divan, you’d probably be better served by enabling a vital-sign-monitor to increase the volume in a fashion similar to that of an intravenous drip rate whenever flat-lining becomes imminent.
Not that the event horizon surrounding this particular black hole is any more clouded than, say, that induced by a between-set trip to the bass player’s cabin at Defa’s Dude Ranch. In its own way, however, it does portend a crash landing of sorts.
Unless one has, over the years, put boots on the ground upon what many of us have come to honor as sacred space, they more than likely have little sense as to what my continual interior upheaval over the issue is all about. For this portly gray dude, redemption arrived once hikes and walkabouts entered the picture.
When one requires one of those cute little fossil fuel propelled runabouts to make their way over the landscapes in question, it makes sense that they are clueless on the subject. Noise and belching exhaust clouds certainly don’t bother them. Nor does churning about the desert biological soil crusts they call roads.
Oops, I seem to have digressed from impending zoning changes in and around Heber’s North Fields to that most sacred topography of Southern Utah and beyond. Not to worry. We’ll head back north before we’re finished. It’s not that the issue of open space does not carry the same urgency as canyon country desecration. Actually, they are part and parcel.
It’s all about seeing the desert country in either geologic or human timeframes. The soil crusts that are being and have been obliterated by corporate development, the ATV inundation, and, admittedly, less than knowledgeable hikers, myself included, are made up of living organisms that evolve over many human life cycles.
Now, this wouldn’t be all that important if it weren’t for the fact that these crusts and the bacteria they rode in on are probably more responsible than anything else for initially supplanting the planet’s mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere into one with an oxygen level sufficient to sustain life forms. Don’t get me started.
But back to Hebertown and my selfish desire to ward of the reduction of acreage required for building lot size from 20 to 10 in the parcel known as North Fields. I say selfish because my personal aesthetic is somehow insulted by most all human-related increases in density regardless of motivation.
And, as it pertains to the North Fields, this mindset is not due solely to the soulful eyes of my longtime Labradoodle friend Jack. No doubt, even if one of his favorite romping grounds becomes a subdivision, he would adapt. No doubt to the annoyance of many, but that’s a good thing.
So, the next time your boot heels hit the ground, remember to allow the spiritual aspects of the encounter to further massage your sensibility. There is love down there.
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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Columnist Tom Clyde has been unable to nab a ski reservation so far, so instead he’s catching up on all the important animal-related news going on in the world.