While attending Brigham Young University in Utah I would sometimes drive up Provo Canyon and escape the pressure of school by taking in the beautiful mountain scenery just minutes away from campus.
One day I was parked at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls watching the water cascade down a rugged rock face hundreds of feet into the Provo River. I overheard a man tell his wife that although the mountains of Utah were nice they couldn’t compare to the splendor of the Colorado Rockies. Knowing a little about the geography of the area I just couldn’t let that comment pass.
I walked up to the gentleman and handed him a five dollar bill. He looked at me rather quizzically as he eyed the bribe I extended to him. “If you are willing to follow me for fifteen minutes,” I told him, “I will show you mountains that will match anything you will find in Colorado. If I fail to do that, you can keep the five dollars. But if you agree with me, I expect to get my money back.”
He had seen enough of Utah from the freeway to know there was no way he would have to return my five dollars. “You’re on!” he said.
Just minutes from Bridal Veil Falls, a narrow road leads off to the north becoming what is generally known in Utah as the Alpine Loop. Just off that loop Robert Redford owns a ski resort he named “Sundance” after the role he played with actor Paul Newman in the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The road takes you up behind Mount Timpanogas which is impressive when viewed from the freeway to the west but is awesome in its grandeur when experienced from the east off that narrow, winding loop.
I got my five dollars back and was offered five more.
Sometimes we just don’t know where to look.
In the movie, “Jeremiah Johnson” Redford plays the part of a mountain man who is constantly being pursued by Indians who want to lift his scalp. Much of that movie is filmed on location on Redford’s own property. If you would like to see what I am talking about, rent the DVD.
One of my favorite scenes in “Jeremiah Johnson” finds Redford wintering in the remote cabin of an ornery old mountain man who passes his time hunting grizzly bears. One cold morning Redford is awakened by the loud yells of his host whom he sees running through the snow toward the cabin being closely pursued by a big, ugly, mean grizzly.
Redford throws open the cabin door and both the old mountain man and the grizzly tumble through. However, the old man immediately jumps out the back window leaving Redford inside to face the enraged bear alone. With a grin, the wily old man hollers back at Redford, “You skin that one and I’ll go get another one!”
But I digress. In troubled times it is easy to overlook the “acres of diamonds” lying at our feet and instead we go off seeking our fortunes in far away, remote places where we think the grass will be greener. There is no place like America.
“I should like to say a few words about America,” said Gordon B. Hinckley. “No land is without its beauty, no people without their virtues, and I hope that you who come from elsewhere will pardon my saying a few words concerning my own native land, America.
“I know that she has problems. We have heard so much of them for so long. But surely this is a good land, a choice land, a chosen land. To me it is a miracle, a creation of the Almighty.
“I doubt not that we shall have days of trial…But I am certain that if we will emphasize the greater good and turn our time and talents from vituperative criticism, from constantly looking for evil, and lift our sights to what may be done to build strength and goodness in our nation, America will continue to go forward with the blessing of the Almighty and stand as an ensign of strength and peace and generosity to all the world.”
Ezra Taft Benson declared, “This nation came into being only through freedom of choice, sacrifice, labor and struggle. Brave Americans gave their lives in the settlement of this nation and its preservation. Let us remember our heritage and recognize that the day of courage, labor and sacrifice is never done. For the welfare of America, each citizen must develop a keener sense of responsibility for the solution of public questions—all public questions.
“Our people must think. They must discuss. They must have the courage of their convictions. They must decide on a course of action and they must follow through. All this must be done freely, in the open, without government dictation or control.”
As a nation, where can we look for stability and purpose? I think we must hold fast to the Constitution of this great land and uphold and support its principles in the face of the corrosive forces of criticism apathy and neglect. Although it’s right in front of our eyes, sometimes we just don’t know where to look.