The Kaibab Plateau

Updated: May 27

By Margaret -

Drops of rain from the quick shower minutes before freckle the gravel road. That’s the

thing about the Kaibab Plateau; the weather is constantly changing. If you blink at the wrong

time, you’ll miss something spectacular. The smell of damp pollen, dirt, and the heavenly aroma of the ponderosas (a strong vanilla) combine into a spiral of scent, replacing the stale air from my lungs with a rich, earthy fragrance.


Golden sunlight peeks from behind purple-gray clouds. A hearty gust of wind flies by

overhead but I’m sheltered by the pines. The crunch of gravel stops as I leave the road,

preferring to explore the forest around me. Dips and climbs scatter the landscape. Needles litter the ground like discarded clothes from the trees. I walk down a small hill towards what I’m hoping will be a good spot to wait out the storm inside me.


Quietly, I sit myself down on a fallen tree, barkless wood smooth under my hands as I brush away leaves, needles, and a few straggling ants. The wind has stopped now. An observant woodpecker perched nearby plays a dizzying rhythm just out of sight. Still, I remain on the log. The reddish bark on the surrounding pines comes to life as the clouds part completely.


The sun, like a friendly neighbor checking in, pokes through. Warmth on my face, a pair of gentle hands. Around me, the forest comes to life as birds gossip with one another. Small squirrels scamper through the dirt. My eyes are closed, but I can see the sun through my eyelids. Each breath I take is fresher than the last, each one filling my soul with serenity. They fill me more than any other breath I’ve ever taken.


The air is still cool from the rain earlier, and I can picture my cheeks, the tips of my ears,

and my nose a pleasant pink. I stay as the grove, the sky, and the air transform around me. I’m

the sun, the center of change. I stay until the woodpecker flies away. I rise from the tree, dust off my pants, and begin walking towards the cabin, and the felled log keeps its silence.

Funded by O.C. Tanner and the Tanner Trust for Utah Universities through the generosity of the late Professor Obert C. and Mrs. Grace A. Tanner, the Center provides a focal point and physical setting for the annual Grace Adams Tanner Lecture in Human Values. 

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