Seeing Utah

Driving back from Callao, Utah on a moonless night, I looked out my driver’s side window and saw lights on the mountain in the distance. I struggled to understand why the mountains were sparkled with tiny dots, then I realized I was looking at the stars.

I stopped the car at the side of the road, turned off the ignition, and stepped outside into the darkness. The sky hit my eyes like a power chord from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It had been many years since I was far away enough from a city or traffic to actually see the milky way.Suddenly it all came back to me. This was the end of a journey that had started in the spring of 2005. Traveling town to town, learning more, understanding Utah.

Callao was spectacular. I had never visited a town so small, yet overwhelmingly beautiful. Unpaved streets, no municipality, no police force, a one-room schoolhouse, and the most serene desert landscape you can imagine. Fighting for their very existence against the state of Nevada who wishes to drain their home of what little water exists for lawns in Las Vegas. A drilling exercise that would be suitable for an episode of the Simpsons if it weren’t so tragic. These committed Utahns continue their battle in spite of an ignorant congressional delegation that claims it is “conservative

They talked to me about water, but then they told me so much more. The teacher of 19 years told me her dozen or so students are held to “No Child Left Behind