Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kudos to The Nature Conservancy

Having recently returned to the Wasatch Front, after growing up here and then moving away for so many years, I have become acutely aware of at least two things:  first, that I did not take nearly enough advantage of the beauties and opportunities of this place while growing up; and second, how much it has changed, fueled by ever growing  crowds, powerful developers, and other forces which place those beauties in constant danger.

How thrilled I was, then, to discover the Nature Conservancy at work within site of my home, out on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.  They have purchased a large preserve in West Layton, and we took the family for a stroll two weeks ago to enjoy the board walk out among the wetlands. 

Here is Aldy, walking by Binocular (not a recommended practice) along the mile-long board walk.  I don't know what it is about kids and board walks, but there is an undisputed attraction that makes a stroll so much more exciting.

The grasses were still in their finest winter shade of amber, and shone brightly in the evening sun.

Unique viewing platforms along the way (pics at the end of this post) provided vistas of wetlands with Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front as a backdrop.

Above is the view of my hometown, Bountiful, from one of those platforms.  If you look at the left side of the photo, about mid-way up, you will see an empty foothill, with houses just to the right.  Our house sits in that group of homes, and has wonderful, though distant, views of the lake and these wetlands.  

Even without any wildlife, a winter evening walk here is a joy, with the mountains lit up in the evening sun.  (I know, I know, you are saying to yourself "Winter? Why does he keep saying Winter? Isn't it April?" Well, in the last week of March and the first week of April, Alta ski resort reported 143 inches -- fourteen feet!-- of new snow. I am beginning to think Spring is just a nice fairy tale we tell our kids to make them feel better. . . )

The photo above is Kath and the kids walking the board walk under a full moon, just as the sun was setting. We stayed well past sunset, which was so worth it, because it was then . . .

that the Sand Hill Cranes flew in.  These are magical birds, and I will never forget my first encounter with them (thank you Steve and Heidi!).  Their loud honking is the sound of dinosaurs and dark forests, of vast expanses and ages without a human being in sight.  At sunset, it will take you away.

How grateful I am for those who work against all odds to preserve little pieces of magic amidst the tide of human creation. What a great Sunday evening.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mysterious Visitor

Around our house, we have some philosophical concerns surrounding certain holidays, Easter being one of them. The debate goes something like this: "If we tell them there is an Easter Bunny, and then later say 'just kidding!' what will they think when we tell them we really do believe in Jesus Christ and his resurrection?  And how did we go from the sublime to bunnies anyway?"  

Now, since I passed through that potential minefield of confusion just fine growing up, I am not so concerned as my wife, who may just have unresolved issues.  So we were debating whether we should even talk about the Easter Bunny a few nights ago, as the holiday approached.

Unresolved, we woke to this in our back yard the next morning (go ahead, enlarge and look closer):

They went right up the stairs to our house.  Coincidence?  Or sign?  The debate continues, but irrespective of the conclusion, there can be no question that a bunny visited our house on or about Easter 2009.

Consequently, we had a great day.

Upon seeing his Ultimate Build It Yourself Lightsaber Kit and corresponding Star Wars The Complete Cross Sections book, Alden exclaimed "Yes!  Easter Rocks!"

Keegan was heard to say "Mmmmmm, Chocolate!" several times, and could hardly wait to use his wheelbarrow and shovel, to help Kate with her favorite Easter gift -- tons of flowers to plant!

Happily, Easter day dawned warm and sunny, and the snow of days ago was gone, so the Moon cousins could come over for the annual backyard Easter Egg Hunt.

Papa helped Keegan understand the object of the game -- good thing, cause it wasn't going to catch on otherwise.

Here he is trying to take eggs out of the basket and give them back!

In case you didn't know it, the only proper way to hunt Easter Eggs is with a light saber -- those things are dangerous, don't ya know?

Here are Kate and Molly, scouring the grounds for their treasure.

Unfortunately, cousin Jude was suffering from "technical difficulties," and it took only one look to let his mother know he was not so happy about them getting in the way of his hunting.

Luckily, the damage was repaired, and mom and dad made amends by helping him with the hunt.

Cousins Leah and Abbey also had a great time. Sorry we didn't get pics of Angela, Kevin and Grandma Val, but a good time was had by all. Thanks for coming over, guys!