Saturday, February 21, 2009

Waterfowl and rural Utah.

Today we traveled south to watch some Snow Geese on their migratory pit stop north. We drove almost 2 hours to Delta, Utah for the Snow Goose Festival, took a couple pictures of some geese and drove home. It wasn't the most exciting 5 hours of my life, but I absolutely love driving through Utah, for some weird reason, and I like that I'm feeling part of something happening locally.

I made a goal last summer to see as much of Utah as I could before I move away. Adding this trip to Delta I've seen most of what I've wanted to. I like rural Utah for some reason. I love it. I'm fascinated with it. I'm fascinated with the old, slow talking residents who remind me of my grandparents. They are a dying breed, and as much as it bothers me, they and their little towns embody where I come from, where generations of my family lived. On my mother's side my grandpa's family lived in Vernal, Utah for a hundred years. I think he was one of the first to leave. And when I talk to those the rural Utahns whose families have lived in the same little towns since the Pioneers, I can't help but think of my family and my pioneer heritage. I admire those people almost as much as I am frustrated and confused by them.

I am also, of course, reminded of my own childhood growing up in a small town in Utah. It never seemed that small. The valley was my whole world; there were enough people there and enough things for me to do because I was a lucky one living on a ranch far from neighbors. I never liked the town. It made no sense to me when there was so much land why people would bunch together and have tiny little yards for their kids to play in when there were only 500 living the whole place to begin with. It was like they were pretending to be suburban or something. I was never bored because I had a twenty acre ranch to explore, 12 dogs to play with at a time, cats, chickens, rabbits, horses, horrible geese, ducks, peacocks, a canal to swim in, hills covered in sage brush, hills covered in alfalfa, hills covered in grass, a long windy dirt road to ride bikes down, or sled down in the winter, trees to hide in and build forts, sheds full of old junk to explore, everything a kid could ever want. And all those other kids had a little lawn to play on out in the middle of no where. No wonder they all went crazy.

It's funny. I never felt that I was like those people in the town at all. I always felt different. Even though I was probably the most rural of them all I've always had a cosmopolitan view of the world. I somehow avoided the Utahn accent (for the most part anyway, sometimes it sneaks through.) I always found my grandparents and other people I associated with to be racist, ignorant, sexist and overall infuriating. I never felt trapped in a small town because I never had to live in the town. Instead I lived in paradise and I knew it. I think the fact that my mom worked in Park City for most of my childhood had a lot to do with my urban view of the world. She knew what was going on. In Park City she had all kinds of jobs, would meet celebrities and make friends with rich people. She didn't have many friends in the valley, and I'm honestly really glad for that because she kept up with fashion, with music and did a good job of exposing us to the city, to art and most of all to shopping. I know we were, but I don't ever remember feeling poor or deprived.

Goodness, as screwed up as I am now, if I had not had the fortune to live and grow up where I did I have no idea where I would be. I think it has a lot to do with my seeminly contradictory pull toward a city like New York and also my dream of having a farm for raising chickens, rabbits and children. Give me the biggest city or the most rural ranch, nothing in between will do.


  1. Rural Utah is terribly fascinating. I really loved researching Mormon tabernacles for my vernacular architecture class last year because I learned so much about rural Utah and the history of Utah from 1847-1900, which tends to get ignored when we study Church history. Why don't we ever talk about what the pioneers did after they made it to Salt Lake valley?

    My mother was born and raised in a tiny coal mining town in eastern Utah (East Carbon) and I used to dread going to visit my grandparents during our annual summer trek to Utah. But now, I've come to love that my grandfather was a Polish Catholic coal miner who stumbled into Utah and married a local Mormon girl and am proud of the fact that I have that heritage. I am a suburban girl through and though, but sometimes I have a stange nostaglia for rural America, for small towns, and farms and horses.

    If you haven't already, you should really check out Her blog gets a little cheesey at times, but I fell in love with it for all gorgeous photos she posts of her family's cattle ranch in the middle of Oklahoma. (She also has a lot of great recipes on her cooking blog too.) After seeing the beauty of wide open plains, tall grass, and wild horses, I wanted to throw in my citified ideals and move to a ranch. Despite the challenges, it looks like a blissful existence. So Jasie, I understand. The city and the country both are terribly alluring in their own special ways.

  2. dude, have a farm in nyc. everything is possible in nyc.