Empty Spaces of the Word
The six million empty acres of national park, forest, monument, and public land in southern Utah appeal to me when I want to be alone, or at least to be away from the city. My son, his scoutmaster, and I went to Mormon land. After landing in a snowstorm in Salt Lake City, we drove six hours south and ended under clear skies in Boulder, Utah, population 200. Boulder has a country inn done in studied rusticity, with carefully and expensively rusted tin roofs and a hot tub next to a semi-natural wetland. It is a Bobo’s (bourgeois bohemian) paradise.
We came to hike a little into the emptinesses. It had rained in the desert, so we soon discovered the joys of quicksand, in both its frozen and semi-solid state. Our guide tried to get us to remember the sandstone layers by the mnemonic Many Canyon Walls Know No Capitalist Exploitation (let’s see, something, something, Kayenta, something something . . .).
We saw UFO crash sites. One iron formation when eroded looks like carburetors, distributors, lunch boxes, dashboards. No wonder they crashed—who ever heard of making a flying saucer out of iron?—titanium is the last word in saucer models. The petroglyphs clearly displayed non-humans, which must be aliens (what else could they be?).
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Leon J. Podles holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia and has worked as a teacher and a federal investigator. He is the author of The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity and the forthcoming License to Sin (both from Spence Publishing). His latest book is Losing the Good Portion: Why Men are Alienated from Christianity (St. Augustine’s Press). Dr. Podles and his wife have six children and live in Naples, Florida. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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