Coming home from my evening activities tonight, I drove through Provo Canyon. It was late, so there were no phone calls to make. It was dark, so there wasn’t much to see. I had some time to just think. As I came around Deer Creek Reservoir, memories just started to flood my mind.
Summer days spent on the reservoir with our wave-runners. An overnight camping trip with friends from my apartment complex. After crossing the dam, I passed a little dirt road off to the right where I would go off-roading with my sister in her Jeep…and whatever boy was currently piquing her interest.
I came to a curve in the road, where there’s no center divider, and remembered the accident that somehow didn’t happen last December, when I came around a dry bend into wet slush, losing control of my car for just long enough to send me back and forth across all four lanes multiple times, finally landing me in the center strip facing the wrong direction after spinning around.
I remembered what the highway was like before the tunnels went in. I thought about Sundance, and all of the memories I have there. Coming to Utah to visit my siblings in college and having my dad take us to the Tree Room, making all of us feel very special. A “photo-shoot” with my sister my freshmen year, just after my mom died and before my sister left on a mission for my church. I can still see what I was wearing…although I have no idea where the pictures are. I thought about the year my brother, Justin, and I had season passes for skiing. We would head up every MWF. I finished work at noon, and Justin would come pick me up in his HUGE mid-80s Chevy Blazer. He would push me to try harder and harder runs, and teach me how to maneuver them. (We never took our skis out of the car…my grades were horrible.)
Then there was my one and only snow-shoeing adventure (sad that I haven’t ever gone again) with my roommates, Caitie and Andrea. I was depressed and miserable at the time, but I remember laughing so hard as we came to the top of a hill and all fell over from exhaustion…and then started to throw snow at each other. Sledding with cousins. Hiking. Moonlight rides on the ski-lifts in early fall. Outdoor movies in the summer. Dinner with friends at The Foundry Grill. Sundance Canyon alone holds volumes of my memories.
I passed Canyon Glen Park and thought of the night my sister, roommates, and I went to see our friends’ band play around a big bonfire. Seeing the sign for South Fork made me think of the hours and hours and hours I spent running up and down the river trail during my marathon training (and at other times in my life). I thought about campfires at South Fork Park. The summers spent rollerblading up and down the river trail with my friend Courtney. Various church activities. I passed Bridal Veil Falls and could see myself hiking up to them 10 years ago. I remembered the walk I took with my friend, Aaron, just before he left on his mission.
Then I saw the place where, late at night my freshmen year, I used to park my green Mitsubishi Eclipse (a hand me down from my sister), listen to music (mainly The Promise, by Tracy Chapman, on repeat), and just cry for hours after my mom died. Living in dorms, there wasn’t really anywhere I could go to be alone. My car and that canyon became my home; the place where my heart was, where I felt close to my mom and to God, where I felt peace.
This canyon, my canyon, holds over a decade’s worth of my life in its river and trails and mountains, its waterfalls, and its moonlight. I realized just how much I really love it for holding so many of my memories, both good and bad. (Even as I write this, more memories are coming to mind.) I thought about just how much I’m going to miss it this summer, and when I eventually move away for good.
And finally, tonight, after a few very difficult and emotional days–the type that always make me miss my mom and ache for her wisdom and kindness and generosity…but most of all her unconditional love and her absolute knowlege that things always work out–I felt peace again. The peace of my canyon. The peace of my home.