Capitol Reef is particularly remote among the many national parks that stretch across the extraordinary landscape of southern Utah. Perhaps its relatively recent establishment (1971) as a national park, or the location, accessible via a long, lonely stretch of Utah Highway 24, are why it is overlooked among other of the nation's great parks, or even the more heavily visited ones in Utah like Zion and Bryce. To say it stands alone among all the natural sites I beheld just on the trip would be strong words indeed. But Capitol Reef might be the most striking landscape in which I have ever found myself. Even before the park began, I thought, "this must be it," But no, it was merely the spectacular prelude, west of Torrey, Utah. When the park proper does begin as you wind east on Utah 24, the red rock buttes seem to go on forever. Utterly stunning. I was amused to read a sign just past the visitor center that read something like "scenic drive ahead." This tantamount, I felt, to having the best sex of your life for about a half hour, only to have your partner say, "Well, shall we begin?" By all means, let us begin.
Images from Capitol Reef, including many from a hike through the Cohab Canyon...
|Tiger Rock, so named by me.|
For some, the existence of a place like Capitol Reef might be ample evidence of a higher power. My thoughts don't quite run in that direction, much as to be alone in such a place is the closest I come to religion. The head is cleared, one feels in the presence of something greater, certainly more beautiful. With that, hopefully comes humility and gratitude at merely be alive to experience these things. However you might frame such thoughts, whether in a formally religious framework or not, strong sentiment and evidence to the contrary is provided by films like God's Not Dead. Watch even a portion of this stultifying piece of effluvium now circulating and you might begin to wonder if there's any order or intelligence left in the universe.
|Coming next week to the Towne, Darwin is Dumb.|
With God's Not Dead, I experienced the second of the holy trifecta currently making the cinematic rounds, having witnessed (most of) Son of God the week previously down the road in Gunnison. I lacked only Heaven is For Real, much as I had seen the trailer two or three times.
Before the film began at the Towne in Ephraim, there were a series of local, mainly live action commercials. Apparently some local agency is more creative than most on such a regional or even local level. They got some of the business owners and employees to ham it up for the spots. This is hardly new in a huge media market like Chicago, or on a national level, but in those cases the heads of companies, car dealerships, etc., performing in commercials usually amounts to insufferable narcissism. The Ephraim ads were actually kind of charming. And high art compared to what that followed.
I won't bother to summarize the plot of God's Not Dead, nor delineate the many ways in which it so leadenly, so tragically, so comically simple minded. Among my many reactions, I was embarrassed for intelligent people who believe in a higher power who might in any way be lumped in with the crowd that unleashed this nonsense on the world. Superior work is frequently produced by the Hallmark Channel. Superior work is frequently produced by the colon of Noam Chomsky (one of the scary, godless intellectuals referred to in the film). It made me want to create my own deity so I could castigate him, her, or it. Clyde, Cleo, or Cummberbund, why hast thou forsaken me!