This summer my friend approached me about taking a trip to Zion National Park. How could I resist? Sometimes, you just need a little escape. I have been so busy with the magazine that September crept up on me pretty quickly. Before I knew it, I was boarding a jet plane and my friend and I were in a rental car together headed to Springdale, Utah. I had no idea what I was really in for either…
Once we arrived in Zion, we took some time to settle in and explored the area for the day. Our first hike in light rain was quite magical as we observed the small waterfalls of Emerald Pools. The next day we hiked Angels Landing where we momentarily fretted for our lives with hands death gripped to chains as we walked on what seemed to be no greater in width than that of a razor’s edge. And, the next day? The Narrows, where 2 miles in, it poured down rain and everyone started a mass exodus. Our adrenaline surely broke some records at Zion National Park.
Overall, my experience at Zion was absolutely breathtaking with majestic sandstone cliffs extending upwards through the endless atmosphere. I would definitely rank it as one of my top trips in my history of trips and a must see for anyone that has not yet been.
Outside of a visual aesthetic, Zion made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me reflect, but most importantly, Zion made me think. Despite being on a “break,” I can’t help but listen, learn, and apply. While riding the shuttle, I listened to the looping recording that was playing at blare volume (that everyone else was somehow tuning out). I learned about the artist + scientist Howard Russell Butler. Butler obtained a degree in Science in 1876 and nearly a decade later devoted himself entirely to painting. He painted numerous wonders, including many of those at Zion. His work was a historic documentation as well as visual depiction, exposing a great majority of people to places they were unaware even existed and unable to travel to at the time. Just as it very much was then, his works are a symbol of preservation for these natural wonders.
Art is important to us. Art has always been important to me. So has nature. And, so it can be through art that we harness awareness for preservation of our natural world. A greater understanding of what it means to us and our undeniable connection to it. As the two of us hiked and canyoneered, we shared our stories. We clung to each other when we were frightened. We further strengthened our bond as humans beings existing in an ever increasingly complicated world. It is at this critical time that art becomes even more necessary. So does science. And, the collaboration between the two is of utmost importance…for humans…for our future existence as a species. Over the past year, I have changed a lot and, with it, my idea of the purpose of art has also changed. So I will ask you a question…what purpose does art serve to you? Is your art progressive?