This morning Joe and I got up early and drove past Big Mountain and parked near the dirt rode that leads to a section of the Mormon Pioneer Trail. We rode our bikes along East Canyon Reservoir and then up a steep hill called Hogsback Summit. We stopped and read the memorial plaque on the side of the road. It read: “Modern historians have dubbed this summit “Heartbreak Ridge” to describe the feelings of many Mormon Pioneers who crested this ridge. After months on the trail, traveling over 1,200 weary miles, it was heart-wrenching to discover that the most difficult part of the journey still lay ahead. Some people must have broken down and wept. Others gritted their teeth with determination and moved southwest down off Hogsback Summit to challenge the mountains and canyons that lay ahead.”
After reading this, my thoughts were on the pioneers and how much easier my life was then theirs because after their journey was through and they reached the Salt Lake Valley, they usually married, sometimes in polygamy, and then had to make the land work for those who are enjoying the fruits of it today. I consider Salt Lake sacred land because really it is to me. My ancestors came here to escape persecution and to worship how they pleased but they also worked so hard to have a better life. Now, I am enjoying all these conveniences they were not able to. So as I rode down Hogsback Summit, listening to songs by Joni Mitchell, enjoying the downhill part of this ride, I felt overwhelmed with joy because I am alive, healthy (I pray) and so happy to get to spend time with my friends but mostly my family. They are the best part of my life.
My granddaughter, Kate, is four and very adventurous and gutsy. She loves to ride a bike and never needed training wheels. One day, her darling friend was over and said to Kate. “You are so brave, could you teach me to be brave?” I loved this exchange because it made me ponder two things. First, can we be taught to be brave by someone else? And, second, I loved that her friend asked for her help. I think when we get older, we stop admitting that we may need another’s help so we don’t ask. But what a sincere plea for help to simply put aside our pride and ask. And yes, I do think that someone else can help us to be braver, by their example, by their kindness or their sincere care towards us.
Pioneer Memorial Marker on East Canyon Road and colors changing near Big Mountain