For the last few days, I have been exploring your back roads,
moving through your landscapes,
taking in your aromas of cedar, aspen, and alfalfa fields from my vantage on the back of a motorcycle.
I have had some time to ponder you, so I hope you’ll hear me out.
I can’t speak for all travelers, but I don’t think I am unique.
I didn’t come here for your city lights (we have those back home).
I didn’t come here for your weak coffee, hidden liquor stores, or overpriced lodging. (Can we work on that?)
I came here for your endless unmarred vistas,
For your slick rock hiking,
For your desert pools,
For your solitude,
For rock formations that blow my mind,
Utah, my friend, you did not disappoint.
But, don’t blow it.
I know that Zinke and his pals want to “open you up,”
sell your assets to the highest bidder,
reduce the size of your grand monuments.
Does that frighten you? It frightens me.
Your wildness makes me a better person. It takes me outside of my head, gives me perspective, makes me care. And I’m not the only one – so many writers have said the same, in such soaring words. I can send you books if you want….
Please save yourself. Take action. Protect the vistas, canyons, peaks, washes, hoodoos, and wildlands that make you, you. Show us how to take the long view, how to be a part of the earth not outside of it. We’ve got your back.
This poem was written in 2017 while the Trump administration was working to reduce the size of Utah’s National Monuments and open up our public lands to private oil and gas developers.