Friday, April 9, 2010

A layover in Salt Lake City

Business travel took me through Salt Lake City this week. It was an unexpected last minute change. It had been twenty years since I had been in that airport, so a few things had changed. The walk between concourses was pleasant. The designers of the airport thoughtfully included large windows everywhere so I could see the snow covered mountains in nearly every direction. I could also see downtown in the distance and I was reminded that my parents were born there, grew up there, even went to college there. My wife and I have family scattered all over this part of Utah.

I boarded my next plane and as we took off I looked at downtown Salt Lake one last time. I love Tennessee, but my roots aren't deep enough there yet. More than any place, the Salt Lake valley feels like where I am from. I’ve never lived there, nor is it likely I will ever live there. But a part of me claims it as my own.

My children are putting down roots in Tennessee and maybe they will feel like that is where they are from someday. But I hope they too will know that their ancestors came from the Wasatch Front. With parks and places named after their ancestors, there are roots for them to claim.

This is part of what history does for us. Through learning it we can connect to people and places we don't experience firsthand. And perhaps that is one reason I am searching Tennessee Mormon history the way I am.

4 comments:

AnnieB said...

I have had an opposite experience. I grew up away from Utah, but ended up here as an adult. The longer I live here, the longer I feel my roots here...and realize that all of my ancestor's lines come back to the Salt Lake Valley.

Thank you for all the research you are doing in Tennessee. My patriarchal line came from there originally (I'm the commenter "Anniebird" on your Early TN Branches post...just signed in wrong :), and your research there will help me fill in some of the blanks of my family's story.

I will be emailing you for more info. Thanks again!

Jim B said...

You make living in Salt Lake sound almost poetic. Roots and all. It is indeed a unique place to live, with some real extremes. Being a church member is different in that I can walk to the temple, and on the opposite side of the equation, I might have to walk through the crowd of demonstrators that are protesting the latest thing about the church (the current miff is with the gay marriage folks)
Just like those snow covered mountains, they always look so great with the snow and all, till you have to drive in them or shovel out.
Let me know the next time your in town and I can see that you get to see more than the airport there is always a later Delta flight.

Ardis said...

I appreciate your recognition of roots. It's the roots that make Salt Lake feel like home to me even when I've lived here only a very few years. I don't want to change those roots, as if I even could. It's that permanency, that being so deeply connected to a place, that Salt Lake = me = Salt Lake, that makes it so hurtful when church members who don't have or don't value that rootedness here engage in bitter Utah-bashing, oblivious to what they're coincidentally saying about me. Thanks for not doing that.

BruceCrow said...

AnnieB,
Thanks for commenting. I hope you find the roots for which you are looking.

Jim B,
The poetic was sort of what I was going for. But I am fully aware real life is not as poetic. But living away from Salt Lake I have the luxury of addressing just the poetic stuff.

Ardis,
I am perfectly capable of doing the Utah bashing thing. It isn't that I don't see all the other stuff. It's just that they don't really matter. Everywhere has "bash-worthy" stuff, even Tennessee. It is the stuff that matters, like the roots, that make me love living where ever I am.