Lost, then Found

I must warn you up front, there is no point to this post. No deep thought, no subtle lesson. It's just a stupid story about a stupid person...me.

Saturday, I did a little babysitting. Great kids, great parents, some of my favorite people in the world. The Monks, if you know them. That evening I drove into town and bought pizza for the kids. Paid for it with cash, right out of my wallet. Around 11:00 pm or so, the parents returned and I headed home. The next day, Sunday, I went to the office in the afternoon to work. The office was a mess as the carpet cleaners had been there on Friday, so we had moved all of our stuff either up on desks or outside. I therefore spent quite a bit of time setting up my office, throwing away a lot of trash, re-organizing...you get the idea. I stayed at the office pretty late, till midnight or so.

The next morning, Monday, I was leaving for work but couldn't find my wallet. I didn't think too much of it as I figured I had left it at the office (don't worry, my office isn't your typical office and it isn't unusual for me to leave things there). However, I arrived at the office and found no wallet. I hunted around a bit at work without success, and left that evening determined to find the wallet which, obviously, was back at home, hidden from sight.

Got back home, no wallet. I hunted high and low. I looked in the washing machine. I looked in the refrigerator (you never know!). I looked everywhere I could think. Not seriously bothered, I called back to the pizza place from Saturday night, the last place I definitely could remember seeing my wallet. No luck, no wallet. I zipped back to the office to look there again. I looked throughout the office, upstairs, downstairs, in the restrooms, closets and cubbies. Nothing. Feeling desperate, I then went to the big trailer where we throw cardboard to recycle. Perhaps it went out with some of the boxes I threw away on Sunday? I crawled around in the wet cardboard (it was raining at the time), sorting through the pile of soaked, slimy crud. No wallet.

As I went to bed Monday night, I was convinced I had either a) left it on top of my truck when I went to get pizza, and thus it was gone forever, or b) I had accidentally thrown it out with some trash when I cleaned my office, and thus was gone forever (unless I wanted to climb into the trash trailer at work...no I did not). My plans were to begin the long, painful process of canceling ALL of my credit cards and getting new ones, getting a replacement insurance card, driver's license, etc. A serious pain, but what else could I do?

But wait...

At six in the morning, Tuesday, I bolted straight up from a dead sleep. I suddenly knew, almost beyond doubt, where my wallet was. Here's the train of thought that raced through my head in about 2.5 seconds:

  • First, I remembered seeing my wallet on Sunday as I left to come to the office. I remembered thinking I should grab the wallet in case I needed to buy something online. This convinced me I had NOT left my wallet on top of my truck on Saturday, although I could have still thrown it in the trash.

  • I THEN realized I did not throw it in the trash. The odds of that happening were tiny, minuscule. I was very careful about what I threw away on Sunday as there were a lot of documents and other such things. I reviewed everything I threw away to make sure it was OK to be rid of it. No way my wallet would have ended up there.

  • I THEN remembered the key to the story.  On Sunday I had carried a few armfuls of boxes to another building, the Lodge.  I also remembered I was wearing my ratty Wal-Mart jeans (which isn't unusual).  I THEN remembered I had somehow forgotten to wear a belt and my pants kept falling down.  I THEN remembered that on one trip to the Lodge, with an armful of boxes, my pants had fallen all the way down to my ankles, and I shuffled the last 30 feet or so till I reached a table where I could put down my boxes and pull up my pants.  Surely, SURELY, this is where my wallet was, having fallen out of my pants when they were around my ankles.

So, Tuesday morning, I drove straight to the Lodge and went right to the room where I had placed the boxes.  I opened the door, looked down, and there it was, my wallet.

I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere; maybe it's simply, "don't forget your belt or you might lose your wallet."

A Long Time Ago...

The desert of southern Utah presents a few dominant themes:

Time - the geology, the landforms, the erosion, the rivers...it all communicates vast spans of time.  Standing by the side of the road, pondering the Seuss-like landforms all around, it is impossible not to think of the eons and eons of time it took to sculpt such things.  Furthermore, sightings of sea fossils, petrified sand dunes, frozen ripples from an ancient sea...these things contribute to the sense of great age.  It's hard to avoid feeling quite temporary in the desert.

Within Canyonlands National Park. Within Canyonlands National Park.

Wind, Sand and Water - these forces act, in conjunction with time, to carve the desert.  As I stood just north of Grand Staircase in the teeth of a 50 mph wind storm...feeling the sand particles needle my skin...it was pretty easy to see how wind and sand act as primary shapers.   Walking through slot canyons carved by centuries and centuries of flash floods, rains and torrents, the undeniable power of water is quite obvious.

A narrow wash carved by water A narrow wash carved by water

Layers - everywhere you look, layers.  Old sand dune deserts, sediments from ancient oceans, vast plains from pre-history, forested basins...everywhere is evidence of what came before.  The lower the layer, the older the earth.  Geologists have it all labeled and categorized, have established time-lines and scenarios.  The names of the layers conjure mystery, history, wonder.  Navajo Sandstone.  Summerville Formation.  Kayenta Formation.  White Rim Sandstone. Moenkopi Formation.  What would it be like to see 270 million years sped up, compressed into a 2-hour movie?  Faults lifing and falling, oceans advancing and retreating.  Forests flourishing and dying.  Layer upon layer.

Layers of Entrada Sandstone, born of ancient tidal flats. Layers of Entrada Sandstone, born of ancient tidal flats.

God's Imagination - of course, for a Christian, this is all just a reflection of the Creator and his infinite imagination.  I know some don't give any credence to the idea of geologic time, to the notion of millions and millions of years, of imperceptible erosion and shaping by wind and rain.  Perhaps they are right.  As for me, Utah reminds me of the agelessness of God, of His imagination, of his power and, even, of his sense of humor.

Wind. Rain.  Time.  Imagination. Wind. Rain. Time. Imagination.

Why I Go West

A view of Capital Reef from the scenic drive through the park.  The setting sun played off the clouds to produce the very vivid reds and oranges.

This and other Utah photos are up on my Smugmug Site.  Click here.


Wrong Turn...

And ended up on the moon.

Ended up on the Moon, I think. Utah?  Or the Moon?

By The Numbers

Been a while.  I'll try to get going again.  Thanks to all for your suggestions on where to go for vacation.  Many, many good thoughts!  In the end, I chose to return to a sure-fire winner, southern Utah.  The trip was epic, truly epic.  I'll try to post some of my photos soon.  Here are some stats from the trip:

Total Days: 10 (Friday to  Sunday)

States visited: 7 (Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma)

Miles driven: about 3,800

Most miles driven in one day: about 1,000

Avg. miles/gallon: 18 (stretch in Texas killed the mpg...headwind of 30 mph dropped my mpg to about 14)

Avg. price per gallon: $1.95 (Thank heavens it wasn't $3.95 like last year!)

Estimated hours driving: around 80 (I figure about 50 mph average)

Hours listening to the radio in the truck: about 10

Total time talking to people on the trip (excluding a couple of phone calls home and a visit with my folks): 30 minutes

Miles driven on 4WD trails: 25

Average speed on 4WD trails: 6 mph

Miles hiked: 35

Longest single hike: about 9 miles (Navajo Knobs, Capital Reef NP)

navajo_knobs Navajo Knobs (not my photo)

Primary destinations: Capital Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park

Great stretches of road: Cottonwood Canyon Road through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument; Highway 12 Scenic Route from Cannonville UT to Boulder UT; Burr Trail Road from Boulder UT to Notom Road, Capital Reef NP; Highway 95 south from Hanksville UT to Blanding UT; State Hwy. 211 from Hwy 191 to the Needles Visitor Center, Canyonlands NP; Telluride, CO to Silverton, CO; Highway 64 across northern NM, past the Brazos Mountains and through the Tusas Plateau and Mountains (awesome drive - photo below!).

Hwy. 64 in Northern NM Hwy. 64 in Northern NM (not my photo)

Greatest little pickup on the planet: my Toyota Tacoma

Do yourself a favor, go explore this part of the country sometime.  There is (literally) no place on earth like it...completely unique.  Beautiful views of mountains, desert, canyons, mesas, plateaus, rivers, gorges, rock formations and just plain bizarre landforms.

Again, just an EPIC trip.
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