When I was just a boy I took a trip to Florida. I remember flying into the Miami International airport late at night, and looking through that small porthole window of the plane with my young, innocent eyes to see lights sprawling as far as visible. Lights which seemed more numerous, and just as far reaching, as the stars. I felt like I was reaching a city so great and large it could only have existed in a science fiction movie like Star Wars. Yet, there it was, before me as real as could be. Of course I had never seen any big city in my life, and therefore realize there was actually nothing particularly special about this city. In reality there were many other cities around the world, and even country, larger and more expansive. However, to me the sight was incredible.
Salt Lake at that time, though large, was a valley where the south and west were still filled with large farms that made black spots by night. That moment flying into Miami-day was bigger and newer than anything seen before, indeed a moment to remember. However it was largely forgotten from my memory for many years, until something brought it back.
The other night I drove back into Salt Lake from Utah Valley and pulled over the point of the mountain as I have done so many times, but this time it was different. Perhaps I was paying more attention to the scenery, or perhaps I was just more pensive. For whatever reason, this time as I looked out into that vast valley, perched on the shelf above the prison, I was taken to Miami International airport, flying in on a late night plane over 10 years ago.
The valley I have known since I was a boy has changed from a valley half rural, half suburban, with few urban areas, to a sprawling city that fills everything from mountain range to mountain range, east to west and south to north. This valley where I have loved and lived has changed so much in just these short 25 years of my life.
Yet it still is the valley I love. More crowded, yes, but filled with even more, wonders, interesting things, and most important, kind and amazing people.
I think of how taken back I am by peering into this valley of my youth, and think how much more would those hardy pioneers who first came here would be. Looking into the valley that was empty except sage when they came, they would now see houses, lights, and bustling businesses even more prevalent than the sagebrush had been. Indeed they may whisper quietly to themselves while standing on some nearby peak, “this place surely has blossomed like a rose, beyond what I could ever have imagined.”