I am totally mesmerized by Scott Carrier’s voice. I remember him from the early days of This American Life and until recently had no idea he had his own podcast. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks literally listening to every episode of Home of the Brave. His stories are powerful and poignant and exactly what I need right now. He pretty much just drives around the west talking to people trying desperately to understand both sides of the religious, cultural, and political issues that divide us so deeply these days plus he has a very adorable dog. I highly recommend his Bears Ears series (especially part 2 with his brilliant synopsis of the history of Mormonism), Stories from the Green River, and The Oracle as great jumping in points.
Speaking of so desperately trying to understand this divide, I finished White Canyon: Remembering the Little Town at the Bottom of Lake Powell yesterday. The author recalls his childhood memories of his grandparents home in White Canyon, Utah which is now fully submerged under the waters of Lake Powell. His grandfather was a uranium prospector and his grandmother ran the boardinghouse for mill workers.
White Canyon was a fascinating account of what this remote part of Utah’s canyon country was like in the early 1950’s during the uranium boom just before Glen Canyon dam was built and the waters of the Colorado flooded the area. The book also provided some wonderful insight into what the prevailing attitudes of the Mormon settlers were at the time.
“For a Mormon family to be “called” to settle a wilderness area was to be given a holy mission to conquer the land and make it “blossom as the rose.” God had given man dominion over all the land… He was creating a Kingdom of God upon the earth. Wilderness, wildness, predatory beasts, uncivilized man, and unconquered nature were impediments to the Kingdom of God.”
As a red rock desert invader myself, I really enjoyed his remarks of a encounter with a couple of Californians that were camped in “his desert”, “They were the first real tourists I ever encountered on my red desert, and they were the spearhead of an invasion.” The beauty of public lands is that they belong to all Americans, but I can understand how it must feel to have a land you grew up cherishing overrun by “mountain bikers, gypsies, and old hippies,” which was “recently the exclusive domain of cowboys and atomic warriors.” Just imagine how Native people must feel.
Speaking of presidents, buddy Mike Noel introduced legislation last week to rename Utah’s National Parks Highway the “Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway” in honor of the president’s decision in December to shrink the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments and it is on its way to becoming official. You just have to laugh or you’ll go crazy and to quote a friend of mine Jake, “These will be the most vandalized road signs in the history of both vandalism and road signs.” I say bring it on!