NOTE: Open post and then Single Click On first Post Photo to view an album in a more detailed, larger format...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thoughts Big and Small At The Alter Of East Temple

You don't have to be religious in order to believe that Zion is a spiritual place. In fact, Zion is one of the few places that believers, agnostics and atheists alike (unalike) can find common ground... join hands, so to speak, and "worship" without compromising their convictions. It would take a real curmudgeon to mis-understand the glory to be found in Zion, and other "freaks of nature."

Look, we do not have to agree on whether God exists or doesn't. All that is needed is a belief in something... something that is bigger and greater than yourself. There will always be a few who see themselves as being at the center of the universe (you know who they are). But for once, just once, try to be receptive... swallow some ego... and come stand with me at the alter of the East Temple. See if you don't feel something... the vibe, the vortex, the Black hole... "God." Something. If you can yawn, then you win. I give up.

It's about as difficult to get to the bottom of "spiritual" as it is to get to the alter of East Temple. After all, there is little "science" to spiritual matters, and there is absolutely no trail to the Temple, just a near perpendicular stretch (and I mean stretch) of sandstone slick-rock, the kind that gives extraordinary traction. 

You see, matters of the spirit often lie below the surface of consciousness. They are like the air we breathe, invisible to the naked eye. We feel "something," like when it caresses our cheek or tousles our hair, but the rigid mindset wants to see in order to believe. Perhaps "Love" is a better example. Everyone experiences love... it's such an omnipotent, multifaceted, and complicated word. It's quite a blunder that our language only devotes one word to "love" when at least a dozen are called for. There is love for children, which is different from love for parents, which is different from love for spouse, which is different from love for country, love for pets, etcetera. Cutting to the bottom line, we cannot thrive without love no more than we can survive without air. Love makes us human, and then makes us better humans. It requires faith, trust, and honesty... you can't see it, but you can feel it.

So yes, I "love" Zion. I love Zion because it puts me in my place... it shrinks my ego. But most of all, Zion connects me to "something" bigger than myself. I'm not finicky about what you call it, be it God, Allah, the Universe, or, just "Something." Why? Maybe it's because of the three toed dinosaur footprint I place my hand into. Maybe it's the mystifying "story" scribblings of prehistoric Indians that I can't wrap my mind around. Maybe it's Zion's kaleidoscope of colors, or its sheer verticality in an otherwise horizontal world. Maybe it's the cobalt blue deepness of ocean skies, or desert varnish... weeping down cliff-faces like tears of the Ancients. Maybe it's the danger, the difference, the risk, the promise of amazement... that it exceeds my grasp. Maybe it's the only remaining truth in a culture of vulture lies. In the end...
I don't know 
I don't care
who, what, "why," when, how, or where

sometimes it's better to abandon argument
for the sake of peace 
let acceptance roll over and submerge us 
like a gentle ocean wave 

come up for a breath of fresh air 
in an alternative deep blue sea 
"Something" upon which we can agree
"Something" bigger than you 
"Something" bigger than me

And now, an apocalypse of postcards...


  1. Mark, We never tire of the scenery of S Utah. We can spend hours, days and even weeks exploring not caring about anything else except "being there". Cheers, scamp

  2. Wow.Luv the photos & since we just got to Zion for the 1st time TODAY,your pics are even more awesome.We're @ Watchman & cud use some tips on seeing the Park. Wud love to meet up.

  3. Nah, that's just flashy scenery for lesser developed individuals. Superior minds prefer Yuma.

    Geez, I really need to sell my house and hit the road. I wish I could be there tomorrow. Zion, that is.

  4. Mark. Always great enjoyment reading bcb. For me the ocean and beach provides me all. I need for the winter - add tiki bar and tennis and golf -and no rattlers I get by-half marathon Sunday on daytona beach-live is good- east and west- take care

  5. Amazing hike and views. I love the beautiful vistas. I'm jealouse.... short weather!!

  6. Amazing stuff. Do you have any phobias? Certainly not heights or snakes.

  7. Zion. Grand Canyon. Rocky Mountain National Park. Rainier. Glacier. and more.... All beautiful. The great part is that we insignificant organisms are able to be here to enjoy the majesty that Nature created over the many millions/billions of years. It just is. Enjoy it.

  8. You folks look like climbing mules. Lordy but that is up. Which is the direction I'd rather go than down. Just can't beat the colors, texture and sculpture of S UT.

  9. Yes, I agree with you about believing in 'something.' And, about those special places & times. My beliefs do not fit the standard norm & it took me many years to understand that & not knuckle under to the huge pressure of people's in your face religious beliefs. I feel whatever that 'something' is, is far beyond 'all' of the world's current religious beliefs....bar none.

  10. Having been brought up in a Catholic background, I must confess I get so much more satisfaction hiking in a magnificent place like Zion than I ever did sitting through Mass.
    Great photos, but some made me a bit woozy!


  11. I always enjoy getting out my map of Zion and circling the hikes you show in great detailed pictures. I see East Temple on the map but from what trail head did you approach it? Nature has so much to offer, even a walk in the woods near my home I can smell the leaves, hear the singing birds and playful squirrels, watch the contrast between bare trees and blue sunny skies, and feel the cool fresh air that reminds me that it's December in Indiana.
    While I do enjoy hiking in the Midwest, it just keeps me in shape for the real joy of hiking out West. Ouray and Zion are special places that you have done well to document and capture the spiritual nature.

  12. Two Wise Ones here. We have Mark & Bobbie withdrawal... Insert sad faces here. We miss you two tremendously!!! We have to find our own adventures as we have no guides. THis hike was the bestest! And Maikel is still whining about his legs.

  13. Love the post cards. Love the words. Some who haven't been there might not understand that it really does look like that, the skies really are that blue. Good photography of course, but it really does look like that. Makes me miss it all the more.

  14. Scamps,
    Yep... I know you appreciate Utah's variety. thanks!

    Sorry, we left monday :((
    maybe next time, or down the road :)) My blog lays out our favorite hikes... don't overlook last years November posts, Thanks for commenting.

    Bay Rider,
    Ha... Yuma does rock :))
    It's just not my cup of tea... although I do sometimes envy warmer temps.
    Sell the house and get out here... or maybe you should rent it first...

    Walden Steve,
    Good luck in the half marathon, Steve. I know you love Florida and running on the beach. You need to get back out here so I can convert you to at least a summertime mountain man :)) I know where you can rent a studio apt. :))

    Kib Explorer,
    Yes... shorts and t shirts! We had great weather. thanks

    Wandrin Lloyd,
    Hey, I see you capitalized Nature!!! You are slipping...
    Thanks for commenting Lloyd... see you in January.

    maybe "asses" would be a better word :))
    Utah is the most diverse state in the USA, that's for sure. Thanks!

    You hit the nail on the head... We haven't a clue.
    "Something" is good enough for me too.
    thanks for your two cents!

    Jim and Gayle,
    Yeah, I wouldn't last in an indoor church... sitting in a pew... listening to a one way sermon. My outdoor church let's me participate in the "service."
    Enjoy your new "kids." :)) And tell Jim I'm not sending cat food... (grin)

    John Q,
    There is a short trail that goes out to an overlook at the east tunnel entrance. You can see East Temple from there and we just zig zag up, up, up the sandstone. Maybe someday we'll show you in person.

    Wise Ones,
    Yes same here... we miss our good times and hikes and bikes... keep thinking of how much fun it was to have RV buddies to play with. And I glad Maikel is still hurting, Now I don't feel so bad. :))
    thanks!!! Travel on, see you in Arizona in January sometime.

    Thank you... I did get a little carried away with the "postcards." (dang Boonie)
    It is hard to believe that it looks that colorful in Utah on a good light day... but as you say, it really does.
    Thanks for commenting Sue!


If you like reading blog posts...from any blogger...consider leaving a "tip" in the form of a "comment" to the author, lest the blog might disappear from perceived lack of interest.