It’s been a cold winter, and I’m not convinced that we don’t still have a touch of it ahead of us yet. So, when this warm spell we’ve been having turned into a Saturday; my wonderful wife and I loaded up the kiddos, packed an arsenal of water, snacks and sandwiches, and made for “The Swell.”
If you’ve not taken the opportunity to spend some time in the rugged beauty of the San Rafael Swell, you are missing out. We enjoyed lunch on the rock tables of The Wedge, enjoying the towering plateaus as they stood in erect solemnity. While far below at their feet, the decumbent San Rafael River slithered quietly along.
As we continued our tour, the kids were able to play the part of cattlemen, tree dwelling primates, explorers, rock climbers, cowboy outlaws, and more. It was all a great time, and each stop was unique with its varying terrain and rare sites.
I enjoyed the entire day, but for me the best stop of the day took place at a silent little wide spot in the road known as Victor cemetery. A few deteriorating walls and foundations across the valley are all that remain of the neighbors, so the cemetery gets pretty lonely sometimes. I have relatives who are buried there, and as we stopped to visit them, we told their stories to the kids. It was neat to see the way the children respected the memorials, and the tenderness that was shown to those stones which bore familiar family names.
These were energy filled young boys, who, when they learned the story of their relatives, would clean a dirty headstone, pull a random weed, straighten wind-blown ornaments, and knelt in reverence as they spoke to a baby cousin and replaced the toys that belonged atop his resting place.
A study conducted at Emory University and published in 2010 asked youngsters an array of questions concerning their parents and grandparents. The result was; the more children knew about their family history, the higher their self-esteem and the better able they were to deal with the effects of stress.
As we paid respects to these our ancestors that day, we could feel their blood in our veins, and they called to us. It seemed to encourage us to enjoy life, put family first, and to be good people. There was a feeling of love and protection exuded, and it made me want to be just a little bit kinder, a little bit better, and just a little more determined.
“When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves.” -Russell M. Nelson.