I had the whole day ahead of me.
The night before my plane had landed in Salt Lake City, Utah at the end of another summer. Within a few days I’d be back in California sitting in teacher’s meetings and prepping for classes, but that was in a few days. Now I was throwing my bags in the back of my Ford Explorer with time. Time to explore. Time to see what Utah had to offer. Time to take pictures.
I’d grabbed a few suggestions of where to head first, so with Siri’s soft voice directing from my iPhone I headed into the mountains toward Alta’s ski runs. The mountains rose up on both sides of the winding, narrow road as I climbed higher and higher. This was going to be good. It was going to be great. It was . . . going to kill my car.
As I saw the first signs of steam streaming from under the hood I tried to hope it was my imagination. Then I saw the temperature gauge on my thermostat spiking into the red. This wasn’t my imagination. This wasn’t good. I pulled the car onto the shoulder of the road on a tight bend overlooking the valley. Steam poured out from the hood and in that moment I realized my plan for the day was shot. There was no way I could go further into the mountains or head out across the deserts of the southwest without getting my car fixed first.
With a sigh of resignation I grabbed my camera and glanced around the road. How much time did I need for my car to cool down? Might as well make the best of the time and location I had. I snapped some pictures of the high mountains wrapping around me, but vast vistas couldn’t give more than a couple pictures. So what to do?
It was then I noticed the little meadow where I stood. At first it had just looked like any grassy area set beside a road, but this meadow held hundreds, thousands of little wildflowers. If I couldn’t capture pictures of the mountains, could I capture the exquisite details of the wildflowers? I glanced at my Explorer. It was still steaming. I guess I had time to try.