By Dr. Pamela Rader, English Department
When I went to visit friends who had moved from the Lower East Side to Salt Lake City, I found myself in a hilly town enveloped by mountains. Out west, the perspective shifts back to the horizon. Streets are wider, and high-rises are limited to a sepia-toned downtown. Back east, unless you’re standing on the beach, the eye is drawn upward, along the vertical axis of skyscrapers and tall, council oaks or ancient sycamores. Always changing, the western skies hold my gaze. I write ‘skies’—because there seems to be so much sky.
The trompe l’oeil of the thick, low hanging clouds gave the impression that one had awakened in the mythical Shangri-La: a hidden community surrounded by mountains. For the first few days, clouds scrolled like illegible sentences, but it was the mountains I wanted to read. Patience. A white vapor-canvas punctured by a ridge here and an escarpment there. The occasional pocket of corn-flower blue. A brief rain shower was followed by stunning bursts of light and Roy G. Biv’s far reaching arch.
Slowly, the peak-laced horizon revealed itself. To the west, the shorter range of the Oquirrh Mountains extended, and the Wasatch Range resembles an archer’s bow, running north-south. Living in the mountains encourages gazing. Subtle hues of fuchsia develop into warm apricot tones before becoming shadows. In the evening light, everything appears to becoming something else.