Tuesday, August 12, 2008

here are some cool websites:




Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I just got back yesterday from a Memorial Day Weekend excursion to Lander, Wyoming. It's a little town under the "Y." If that doesn't make sense, Lander is in western Wyoming. It's got a population of almost 7,000, and if you blink while cruising down Main Street, you might miss it completely.

Why did I go to such an obscure town for such a long weekend? My fiance's father grew up there, and his mother still resides there, as does his identical twin brother with his family. It was time to get up there and meet some of the family.

The drive up was pretty painless. I downloaded Batman Begins to my iPod to pass the time, and we had one mix CD featuring Laura Veirs and Regina Spektor that we listened to over and over. There wasn't as much sage brush as I expected (but don't get me wrong, there was definitely a great deal of sage brush), and the drive was very beautiful. We drove through canyons and over mountains and saw breathtaking scenes of greenery and redrock. We also saw occasional pronghorn antelope and mule deer.

We arrived at the home of Ashton's grandmother, Jackie, a feisty old woman who has recently lost a lot of her eye sight and hearing. She's half British and speaks her mind, a quality someone like me appreciates. I knew it would be sink or splash with her, so I went with splash. The moment we got there she and I started bantering, and after four days of flirting I won her over. When I walked in the front door, she introduced herself by saying, "Let me show you were you're gonna shack up!" She led me to the guest room, a cluttered cell with a tall, skinny bed with a short and solid mattress. I told her I was afraid of falling off the bed and she snapped back, "Well it's all I got, unless you want to sleep on the floor!" I knew we were going to have a healthy friendship.

We spent the evening chatting, eating brownies and ice cream and playing Bespelled, Jackie's addicting favorite computer game. When we got tired of that we put on Raiders of the Lost Ark and went to bed.

The following morning started early, as Jackie and I had professed our desires to go garage-saling. It's her favorite hobby, and she is quite good at it. Her house if chock-full of wondrous amounts of junk and clutter, and most of it was accrued at garage sales. We drove to a special location in town where everyone advertises their garage sales, and wrote down the more promising addresses. We dropped by three or four homes, and we got some decent stuff. I picked up a pair of brown Banana Republic pants, which I later fashioned into cutoffs, as well as some old books. Jackie bought some left handed scissors, a precious commodity I'm told.

After the garage sales we worked in the yard, planting flowers and digging up weeds. Jackie had me transplant some lilies, but I'm quite certain I killed them. I made it look good though. After we got nice and dirty we had breakfast and took off to Sinks State Park. There's a pretty fantastic cavern there where the river just dumps down underground. It was pretty awesome to check out, and the scenery was beautiful.

After Sinks we went to a used bookstore on Main Street, and it was very fruitful. I found just about all of my favorite novels from my childhood, surprised to see that most of them were Newberry Award Winners. My mom was doing something right. As I approach being married I've become more and more fascinated with child rearing and educating, and Ashton and I both agree that a solid foundation of reading is a good place to start. So you'll understand why I couldn't resist buying all these gems, books like Banner in the Sky and Slave Dancer. After that we met up with Ashton's Uncle Michael, and his fireball wife Bonnie, and their boy-crazy daughter Emma, at the only theater in Lander, the Grand Theater, to see Prince Caspian. It was anything but grand. I guess the lack of competition really didn't drive them to upgrade the facilities, because the sound system was very poor and made it hard to follow what the characters were saying. I was also disappointed by how many young children and babies were, revealed by the constant sound of shrieking and crying. I was beginning to wonder if the people of Lander had ever heard of baby sitters. Just a little common courtesy for the cinema.

After the movie we went over to Michael's place, which was beautiful. Michael's built his own barn and they have a nice corral surrounded by an electric fence. Ashton and her mother found that out the hard way. I begged Emma to saddle up a horse for me, even though it was cold outside and getting dark fast. She obliged and got her dad's horse, Calila, ready for riding. Calila is a very spunky, disobedient horse, and likes to show the rider who's boss. Emma rode her around a little bit to humble her, but Calila fought back by throwing Emma off. I was starting to second guess my request to ride, but I felt obligated since I'd inconvenienced her already. I got on the horse and Emma proceeded to instruct me in all this horse-riding advice that was all very foreign to me, which surprised me because I'd grown up riding my grandpa's horses. I tried to concentrate on what she was telling me, but knew in my head that if that horse started bucking, I'd do whatever felt the most natural to stay on. The moment I blew that horse a kiss it started walking, and I had no problem steering it around the yard, until we turned around and decided to bolt into a canter. I was a little startled and felt the adrenaline hit the bloodstream, but was able to get Calila to stop by pulling back on the reins and yelling Whoa! Emma no longer trusted my skills and decided to walk the horse around the yard a couple times. It occurred to me that this would've looked more appropriate if she was dressed up like a clown and we were at some snot-nosed kid's birthday party. After we made a couple laps I asked to go around by myself again, and just as I expected, Calila bolted again, this time running much faster and jumping a little, in an effort to toss me off. More than a little alarmed, I let out a nice yell as we ran behind some trees, leading the bystander to believe that I'd been thrown off. I got Calila to stop finally, and took a moment to catch my breath and let my heart rate subside. Riding this horse was way too stressful!

After we left Michael's we went back to Grandma's and popped in the second Indiana Jones movie, The Temple of Doom. I remembered immediately why I didn't like that movie, and we all fell asleep watching it.

Church was pleasant in Lander. The ward was small and friendly, and slightly reminiscent of the mission. We had a wonderful meal at Michael's and then Ashton and I went for a walk along the Popo Agie river. Shortly after returning to Grandma's it started pouring rain, so we resumed our games of Bespelled and Speed Scrabble. We threw in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and had a good laugh at Michael Caine, and I realized again how obnoxious Steve Martin is. After another round of brownies and ice cream we found ourselves surfing through channels until we finally ended up watching Clueless. Wow. I mean, as if.

The next morning it was with great sadness we left Lander, Wyoming, especially since my iPod was dead and we only had one CD to listen to. Overall the weekend was a fun experience, and a nice insight into what living with the inlaws will be like. Can't wait for the next reunion!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cheng Day

May 5, 2008

Yesterday marked one year from the incredible day that my good friends Cheng, Jian and Yong got baptized back in Ukraine. They are all a year old in the gospel! I can't believe how fast that year went by. Cheng is now back in China working for a Korean business, and although he can't attend church meetings he diligently reads the Book of Mormon and his copy of Jesus the Christ. I've been lucky enough to correspond with him via e-mail whenever he has questions about what he reads.

To celebrate this glorious birthday, I called up Warnock, the elder I was serving with at the time, and we went to P.F.Chang's. I indulged in some scrumtrelescent lettuce wraps and beef chow mein, reminiscing about the great days when we were teaching Cheng and Jian and they occasionally invited us over for authentic Chinese food. We relived all the "best of moments," like when Cheng said, "I am sure that if I follow Jeerus, I will go to kingdom of sun!" or when Jian said, "Some people drink beer and wine to have fun, but for us, keeping the commandments is fun!" Those men were truly saints.

The rest of the day centered on moving Galya over to my sister's house. I had walked out of the bathroom earlier yesterday morning and found her standing in the center of the room. I was, as the scriptures say, astonished that she had managed to get out of her kiddie pool. She can jump high! We transported her to Lauren's backyard where finally the kiddie pool could fill the measure of its creation. We filled it with water and let her take a swim. It'll take her a while to get adjusted to her new home, but I make frequent visits to check on her.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Prophet said to plant a garden

Thursday, May 1

Thursday morning Greg and I decided to track down some scrap wood to build planter boxes for our roof. Our sudden urgency was spurred by an article in Newsweek about the food shortage and our desire to provide for ourselves independent of a spiraling economy. We had been planning to build planter boxes up there all winter, so we could grow our own beans, squash and tomatoes, and this finally incited us to action. We found some free wood on craigslist, wooden pallets at a deck company warehouse. We drove to the lot and went inside to ask where the free wood was. A few young men behind the counter, obviously occupied with nothing, replied to our question that the pallets were on the west side of the lot. As we exited one of them interjected, "Have a nice bonfire!" How dare they assume our intentions were destructive. Although it did occur to me to grab some extra pallets for just that purpose. Unfortunately the pallets were much too big for Greg's car, so we decided to go to my sister's house to borrow some tools, so we could break the pallets apart. On our way to Lauren's house Greg suddenly swerved and pulled up to a tiny pale yellow house. Beside it, in the driveway, was an enormous waste bin, chock full of wood. This wood was far superior to the pallet wood, as it was cut in long planks about 8 feet long. They were exactly what we were looking for. We opened Greg's trunk and folded down his back seat and set about harvesting this wealth of wood. After we took everything we could fit in Greg's Accord, we dropped by Lauren's to pick up a drill, saw and hammer. As we pulled out of Lauren's neighborhood we glimpsed a Home Improvement center, a Habitat for Humanity affiliate that sold tax free screws for a dollar a pound. We didn't think the day could get any charmed. We hauled all of our equipment up on the roof but had to delay construction because of inclement weather.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Lead Climbing

Wednesday April 31

This was a fairly draining day as far as work goes, but the Omnivore's Dilemma and 30 Rock keep me pretty occupied. That evening Paul, a coworker, called me and asked if I wanted to go rock climbing up Rock Canyon. The weather was a little sleety, but we decided to go anyway. We hiked up to the "Appendage" and climbed some easy ones for instructional purposes. Paul taught me how to lead climb on a 5.7 called, appropriately, "Lead." After I'd mastered that technique I belayed for him as he lead climbed a 5.8 called "Only Wusses Top Rope the Bulge!" He made it up about half way and got a little scared because he didn't completely trust my belaying skills. I don't blame him. I'm fine with belaying a normal top rope climb, but it's a little different with lead climbing, and I didn't have the rhythm down. After contemplating the pros and cons of falling to his death, Paul decided to descend, and I made up my mind to give it a whirl. I had complete trust in Paul's belaying ability. I made it up okay, but toward the end I got a little stuck in a place with weak footholds, and that sudden fear of death that I had felt in Cottonwood Canyon, many years before as a young teen, gripped my insides tightly. I had once gone up that canyon in Richfield with my cousin and Uncle Danny, and had thought I was pretty cool when I climbed up on the edge of a cliff. The coolness quickly evaporated, however, when I realized I couldn't go up or down. I was stuck between a rock and evisceration on the boulders below, and I distinctly remember my heart throbbing with panicky fear and adrenaline coursing through my veins as I desperately clung to the bouldery surface of the cliff. Luckily, with some coaxing from my uncle, I made it down safely. Now I was roped up with a belayer and faced little threat beyond bumps and bruises, but I still felt an ephemeral flash of that feeling. I gathered my wits and climbed higher to a point that I could anchor in. That day was a great accomplishment for me, having lead climbed my first two climbs ever. Later that night I went hot tubbing with Greg and Ethan at the Villa.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So far Summer 2008 has been every bit as good as we have planned it to be. Plan is the key word. Without planning I feel like this summer will zip by, so I want to have meaningful, memorable activities every single day this summer.

It started out on a good foot. Wednesday, April 23, was the last day of finals. It was a pretty exhausting day. I woke up pretty early to study for my physics exam. That was a pretty nasty experience. In addition to that I had to finish my papers for Anthropology, and that was equally painful. And as if the day couldn’t get more unfortunate, my boss called me and harangued me for tipping off those dumb indie kids and telling them not to go to the silent dance party scheduled for the second floor of the library on Tuesday. I kinda sabotaged the whole stakeout and would’ve been in big trouble if the ringleader hadn’t come in to test the waters. My boss had arrested him and charged him and so forgave me my indiscretion. Still, however, it was a little stressful to sit down in the interrogation chair and hear from a police sergeant/ SWAT sniper how I had “obstructed justice.”

The light at the end of the tunnel finally came and finals were over. I went home and collapsed on the couch and waited for Ashton to get off work. She came over in the evening and we went out to Carraba’s to celebrate the end of a grueling semester. We were also celebrating six months since we’d met, which I felt was a pretty significant landmark. After a decent meal we went over to Lauren and Jesse’s to share some Crème Broule, and then we went for a walk. Up until this time I had played the whole evening cool, but I realized that now was the time to take care of business, and I didn’t have a plan. The ring was in my pocket but I didn’t want to put it on her finger just anywhere. We walked from my apartment seven blocks to Center Street and I suggested we walk to the historical landmark tree by the courthouse, the first destination she ever took me on our frequent bike rides. She protested because of the chilly weather, but I insisted that it wasn’t that far. Eight blocks later we arrived at the tree and sat down on a picnic table underneath it. I rambled some ill-prepared speech about how the day was significant because it marked our six months, as well as concluded a school year of college. On the last day of finals my freshman year, I received and opened my mission call to Ukraine, thus changing the course of my life. I figured that this last day of finals would be an equally appropriate day to change the course of my life, and while we sat there and chatted I placed the ring on her finger, without her immediately noticing. I didn’t really want to get down on one knee and I figured she’d be equally surprised to look down and see a shiny rock on her finger. She was. She paused, a little shocked, and started repeating, “Oh my gosh.” The deed was done.

The next day I woke up at a healthy hour, enjoying my first opportunity to sleep in. Greg and I decided to hike Squaw Peak. Ashton had to work so we took off without her and started the strenuous climb. About a half hour into the hike we saw a bighorn ram and two younger sheep. They were perched on the rocky cliffs like they had Velcro on their feet, and we were able to snap some good photos of them. We continued on and hit the fork where the trail branches off to the left. Almost immediately the hike turned steep and soon we were trudging through snow. This continued till the very top, which felt like were ascending a glacier. We were both exhausted when we reached the summit, and a little perturbed by the heavy snow that had begun to fall. We sat at the top and marveled at the view, crouched between boulders to avoid the icy wind. The whole venture was amazing but not very good for my cold, which quickly turned into bronchitis.

The next day, Friday April 25, I attended a graduating brunch for Ashton’s sister Morgan. Afterward Ashton and I went to Target to register for all our dream housing appliances. I made sure to get a fondue pot and was overwhelmed with the complexity of bedding. I couldn’t comprehend why we needed a duvet, 2 bedspreads and a down comforter. After that we made a trip up to South Jordan for Elder Salter’s wedding reception. That card. Following the reception we met up with Allie and went to Step Up 2, which was arguably the worst movie I’ve been to with Ashton to date. Nauseating. But only a dollar.

On Saturday I drove up to Maryn’s play, the Whiz. There was not a single black kid in the cast, so I felt that something was missing. The cast was seventh grade and lower, so we aren’t talking about professional singers, but they had a good time. I wish they’d used Maryn more, it would’ve been a lot more gratifying. There were a couple scenes where I started wishing I was back at Step Up 2. That night we went back to Provo and attended Comedy Sportz, and improv club on center. It was pretty funny and a very creative approach to improv. It made me want to get on the stage.

On Sunday I went to see Ashton speak and had dinner at her house. After that we took Galya for a walk. We walked all the way to the botany pond from my apartment, and she followed us the entire way. It was pretty amusing. We did a couple of laps around the pond with her and people were just baffled. All the little kids wanted to come pet the baby duck and we obliged until Galya started getting traumatized.

Yesterday was Monday, April 28. Greg and I went for a swim at the University Villa and went to the D.I. to sort through books. I picked up a few gems. After that we met Mary Walter and Steve for some lunch at Los Hermanos. It’ll be weird with Steve gone, but he’ll have a much funner time in Jerusalem. Plus I get my own room now. After all that we went to Williams Sonoma and registered for some ridiculously expensive cookware. There we saw the gayest man in Provo, an older gentleman in a woman’s blouse with woman’s slippers, a purse, jewelry and some modest makeup.

Today Ashton and I drove up the canyon and parked at the Stewart Falls trailhead. It was hard to find the beginning of the trail because everything was still buried in snow, but luckily someone had marked the trial with orange tags. We made the hike in a little over an hour. We didn’t see any wildlife but we did have a good time maneuvering the snow. One of the coolest parts was hiking through a graveyard of trees where an avalanche had torn through. What was once a dense forest now looked like a field of beaver food. The best part was approaching the waterfall; I jumped from a rocky ledge onto a steep sheet of snow, thinking I could sink in and walk across. I hit the icy surface with a bounce and slid several meters before I was able to dig in. That was a good time. It was a very beautiful waterfall and well worth the hike. It’ll be nicer to go back in a month when the snow has melted.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fake Glasses

You wear those fake glasses,

the ones that make you look like a scholar

or a mischievous librarian

Who lures young, naïve men like me back into the stacks

to give private lessons on the library of congress and the great novels of the Lost Generation.

You take off the glasses and let them dangle from their beaded lanyard,

And your eyes look up with an honest sparkle,

Free of guile, content and trusting,

And I forget about the icy sting on the tips of my ears


He would certainly have preferred Sweden, where the level of intelligence was high and where he could swim nude with beautiful girls with low, demurring voices and sire whole, happy undisciplined tribes of illegitimate Yossarians that the state would assist through parturition and launch into life without stigma.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cosmic with a Slice of Vander

After class on Friday, Steve and I watched the Science of Sleep, a bizarre yet charming movie about a man named Stephan who has difficulty differentiating between his dreams and reality. This leads to a lot of embarrassing encounters with his would-be girlfriend from across the hall. It was made by the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Then the powers of the universe compelled us to go to John Vanderslice at Velour. While we were waiting outside to get in, a guy about my age (but at least 6 inches shorter) started staring at me. His fixed gaze turned into a glare, and he turned to his friend and directed his friend’s attention at me. His friend joined him in this perverse observation and they both smiled, not holding back the malice. I had the crazy notion they were undressing me with their eyes. Yeah, they were definitely leering now. I felt way uncomfortable and wondered what was so conspicuous about me that was drawing their attention. Their faces turned to disgust and bewilderment and left me a little more confused. Then came the elevator look. Their eyes locked on my jacket. My magical jacket that I bought at the lost and found sale for three dollars. Then the ridiculous notion occurred to me that perhaps the jacket originally belonged to him, and he had carelessly lost it and failed to retrieve it at the Wilk. Andrew arrived with pizza and I temporarily left the line to eat with them on a bench. I didn’t see creepy jacket coveter again.

Finally the doors opened and we were ushered in first because we’d purchased tickets previously. We snagged a table in the back and prepared to sit through the opening act, Bishop Allen. They started out pretty good, I really enjoyed their first three or four songs, but then they turned into a generic pop band and I was bored. While Bishop Allen was playing I got a phone call from a girl I’d made a date with for the following evening. Something had come up and she had to cancel (which turned out to be a very good thing because the concert we saw the following evening was lame-o). I’d stepped out to take the call and as I re-entered Velour something cosmic happened.

Bishop Allen finished their set and I moved up to talk to Andrew and his date. Spirits were high, excitement kindled as we waited for John Vanderslice to play. We moved up to about 3 rows from the stage and braced ourselves for the opening song. He opened with “Kookaburra,” and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. They played mostly songs from their new album Emerald City and it was incredible. As they neared the end of their set John announced that they would be playing a couple more songs, then there would be a dance party, and then we’d be heading down to Maestro’s for some gelato. This elicited a great deal of laughter and clapping, but I don’t think anyone took it seriously. Andrew yelled out, “Don’t get the mango!” and John took a poll to see what the crowd thought of mango gelato (see Sego). Suddenly it was the last song and John and his entourage were coming out into the middle of the audience to where my friends and I were standing. We formed a circle around them and John told us it was critical that we were quiet. The crowd went silent and we all melted in a beautiful rendition of “Keep the Dream Alive.” As soon as the last chord was strummed dance party music was piped over the loud speakers and the whole crowd started moving (except me, I don’t dance.) My friends and I looked at each other with elated faces, a little overwhelmed by such a fantastic finale, and we decided it was time to get some Gelato.

This time I got raspberry chocolate. It was scrumtrelescent. As we finished up our single scoops we watched as a train of fans, led by their Gelato Moses, entered Maestro’s in great mirth. John and his band had brought their instruments with them and gave us another wonderful number as we stood on chairs and photographed. I just wanted to hug everyone in the room. Especially Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Monday, September 24, 2007


When I first came back to Provo I wasn’t all that thrilled about it. It’s not a city that I’ve ever really been in love with, mostly because there’s not a lot to do here. Or so I thought. Because of my increasingly tiring, schedule during the week I’ve made a special effort to do productive and/or interesting things on the weekends. So far we haven’t had any trouble finding things to do. In fact, quite conveniently, things usually find us. There’s always something random going on somewhere, if you just know where to look.

Over the weekend my roommates and I attended the Sego Film, Music and Art festival in Provo. It was a brilliant collaboration of the independent culture in Provo. Unfortunately it was pouring rain all day Saturday, but that didn’t stop the loyal supporters of local bands from coming out to the indie fashion show. I saw some weird clothes.

The venue itself was fantastic. Hidden up behind the Mental Hospital and Seven Peaks water resort is a park with a castle amphitheater and pond. They’d set up three stages, one on a huge stretch of lawn, another beside an algae-infested pond, and the third at the castle. Each stage was protected by a tent but it was impossible to stay completely dry. All the fans piled under the canopy and crowded the musicians, essentially eliminating the idea of a “stage.” My favorite group was definitely Seve vs. Evan. The crowd was pulsating with energy as this highly entertaining duo played their extremely fun keyboard techno melodies like Bomberman and Destination Tokyo. It was pretty dang charming.

The night before, I also had an enjoyable time. Fisher and Andrew drove down for the Sego kickoff concert (which was lame, except for the spin art) and we went out to dinner at Thai Ruby. Fisher brought a date, and Mike had one too, so it was kind of awkward just chilling with Ryan and Andrew, definitely dateless. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part. So I ended up talking mostly to their dates, which was cool because I didn’t have to pay for them.

While we were eating Gelato’s (Never get the mango. Even after sampling it I still fell for it. True idiocy), I got a phone call from a certain someone who has made a habit of tactfully dogging me. It was all too obvious this time, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been so disappointed by a single phone call. We went back to my place and watched Howl’s Flying Castle. Trippy and anime. Weird. “I’m a prince from a neighboring village!” What kind of non-sequitur was that?! I’d still pick it over Elizabethtown though. That movie was absolute garbage.

It wasn’t until Sego on Saturday that the full import of the previous night’s phone call occurred to me. As I watched various artists and fans sucking the marrow out of life, I realized I didn’t need her to do that. From now on I’ll be sucking with a good old-fashioned flexi-straw.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I had a very bizarre experience Saturday that is certainly worth documentation. Although the meaning of the events is still unclear to me, I hope that writing it down will provide me with enough information to sort it out in the future.

So Saturday morning I drove back from Bountiful a little later than I planned, mostly because I slept through my alarm. Being out late the night before didn’t really help my already exhausted system, so I didn’t feel guilty lying in bed till nine. I arrived in Provo with just enough time to go on the hike I planned with my roommates before I had to go into work. Unfortunately, because I arrived later than planned my roommates were already engaged in other pursuits and I found myself beginning the strenuous hike by myself.

I wasn’t opposed to doing it solo, I’m a big fan of alone time. But in light of Camille Cleverly’s tragic passing I felt a little unnerved to be going by myself. But I was determined to do something active and outdoors because I’d spent the previous week confined in the walls of the library, so I went.

Taking time to soak in the beautiful scenery and staying hydrated, I quite enjoyed the hike. It didn’t hurt that I was listening to the New Pornographers either. After about an hour and a half I found myself approaching the summit, and I quickly climbed the final stretch, excited for a chance to rest. The view was incredible, brilliantly highlighted by the autumn change of the leaves. I sat perched on the edge, taking it all in and listening to the dull humming sound of civilization below. I flipped my i-Pod to something a little more reverent – Iron & Wine.

As I listened to that man’s sweet honey voice I caught something in my peripheral vision. I glanced right and saw a beautiful falcon riding the wind up and around the edge of the peak. My eyes followed him as he swooped high up behind me and I was startled when he halted his circular motion and realigned his course in my direction. Suddenly he was dive-bombing, and he let out a loud shriek as if to say, “Here I come!” I froze in my place, captivated and a little unnerved by Nature’s unexpected assault. I smiled as the falcon swooped past, missing me by a good yard, and then he turned and began to circle up again. As he approached me another time from the rear I thought about putting my arm up to see if he’d land on it, but panicked at the last moment and barely dodged out of the way as he dove past me again. As if two rounds weren’t enough, the falcon made one last circle and dive and I involuntarily threw up my leg to protect myself. He missed me by inches and landed on a rock two feet away.

I stared at him completely enthralled and quite baffled. I reached into my bag, pulled out my camera and began documenting this up-close-and-personal encounter. “Horace (I named him Horace), why did you attack me? Can’t we just co-exist?” Horace looked at me and shrieked, and I glanced down at his foot. He had a little strap wrapped around his ankle with a severed band attached to it. It appeared that Horace was an escapee, a runaway, and that explained why he wasn’t afraid to approach me.

He jumped up on the rock next to my bag and stretched out his wings a little bit. I was still pretty shocked about the whole thing and continued to snap photographs, knowing he could take off at any moment. Seconds later he did just that, leaping from the edge of the peak. He stretched out his wings and glided upward, and I was incredibly jealous.

I couldn’t help but wonder what this all meant. In all actuality it was just a ridiculous coincidence. Who gets attacked by falcons? But it did not escape my notice that several elements of the experience seemed symbolic.

The omen was airborne, possibly a sign from heaven? He definitely came at me from a pretty high altitude. I also thought it was interesting that he dive-bombed me three times, a rather significant number. In recorded scripture people often witnessed visions and dreams in multiples of three, like Peter and Joseph Smith. This was done to get the message across, to emphasize the importance of the details.

Another significant detail was the severed strap around his ankle. Horace had broken free from something, and was now at liberty to soar in the sky without the constraints of a leash. He did, however, still have a piece of the leash, which certainly tied him to his past captivity. So although he was free to fly, he still carried with him the remnants of his past.

I’m not so dense that I couldn’t see the parallels in my own life.