Sunday, May 4, 2014

April Flowers

If anyone asks, "when is the best time to visit Salt Lake City," the first answer is usually "right after a giant snowstorm," because skiing that snow is one of the great experiences in life. But at any other time, the answer may well be April.

There are a number of reasons for that.  If you want to combine it with a side trip to Moab or Zion (or other fantastic southern Utah spots), the weather in those places will likely be perfect.  And here in SLC there is a good chance you could ski in the morning at Snowbird, and golf at a decent course down in the valley in the same afternoon.  Birds migrate through the wetlands surrounding the Great Salt Lake in amazing numbers, and the spring energy in the air, after months of snow and cold, adds zing to what otherwise can be a little bit of a sleepy town.

But for me, flowers are the real reason to visit in April. Trees begin blooming, around the capitol building and throughout neighborhoods in the valley, with purples and pinks and whites on display.  Such was the case at the capitol this year.

But the real draw is right down town, across from the new City Creek Center. Each year, in conjunction with its General Conference the first weekend in April, the LDS Church puts on an amazing display of flower gardens in and around the Salt Lake Temple and Church office grounds.  I have never left wandering those grounds without a smile on my face. But this year, the display was truly spectacular.  I went a bit crazy with my camera, so thought I would share a bit.  Take a look:

We took our friend Yen, who is from Beijing but has been living with us this spring, as she teaches Chinese at Alden and Keegan's school.  She loved it, as did Kate and da Boys.

The seas of color here, at this time of year, are just such a miracle of beauty, and bring an overwhelming spirit of peace and wonder that for me is its own testament of God.  I suppose that there are scientific reasons for these colors, but to me that is just the tool used by the great artist in the sky, sharing his joy with each of us.  At the end of the scientific inquiry, you are still left with the great questions: why did there need to be color at all (as opposed to some other mechanism of speciation) and more importantly, why does it make me feel this way?  Hopefully, the photos below will also brighten your day.

In addition to spectacular flowers, if you had come to visit in April this year, you may have been able to see, quite clearly, a lunar eclipse:

Kate told me the moon darkens to red because it is reflecting all the sunsets in the world at the same time.  That was a really nice thought.  Unfortunately, we can't guarantee that every April.

One final note:  this was the scene from our backyard on March 30, Kate's birthday.  No guarantees this won't slip into April from time to time as well, but if it does, then you can just see answer number one at the beginning of this post, and all will still be well.

We really don't want to wait a year for you to visit us here, and think you should come as soon as you can.  I also would point out that late September and early October hold their own beauty in this special place.  But if you are looking for a great time to visit, April is not a bad option.  It has been a great month!