The original, Leave no trace behind?, was a metaphorically view in reference to children. This post is a literal view.
I spent the last 10 days hiking in some of the most beautiful areas of Utah. I saw arches, caves, mountain ranges, canyons, hoodoos, and Indian rock art, just to name a few. Within the same week, I hiked in rain, hot desert sun, snow, and extreme wind whose mission was to cover every part of me in desert dirt and sand. And I loved every minute of it. There is something about pushing my body, achieving that goal to get to the finish line, and being really dirty that makes me feel alive!
I visit Utah once or twice a year and spend the entire time hiking. I always leave with the memories of amazing adventures and breath-taking views; however, this time in particular had more meaning. During my visit, I saw numerous petroglyphs, pictoglyphs, and pictographs. I also saw a staggering amount of graffiti. It left me with a feeling of sadness and a desire to protect what has lasted for centuries.
What drives someone to leave their “mark” in a particular spot? Most markings have no meaning to anyone else but that person. Do you know A.K. ♥ M.G? Me neither. I believe the desire to deface something is a combination of ego and immaturity. With the ego, one feels entitled, some how special that they must leave a part of them behind. The ego makes one believe that they are separate from everything else, thus damaging sacred ruins means nothing personally. Right in front of me, the boyfriend of a young couple was carving their names into a rock. They had no thought or care to the ugliness they were leaving behind. I wonder if he would mind if every person that passed his car in a parking lot, went up and keyed their initials in it to say, “Hey, I was here!” Imagine a beautiful new 2014 Corvette. Everyone stops and admires its beauty and design. Now imagine scratches, writing, spray paint and drawings all over what was shiny new paint. It creates a totally different picture, doesn’t it?
I understand and respect the desire to leave a piece of us behind or mark a momentous occasion, but what is really being left behind? Defacing Mother Nature creates sadness when others see it and costs money to pay those who have to try and remove it. Is that what was meant to be left behind? Probably not. There are many, many more places I want to explore and my desire is that they will still feel untouched, for me and for those after me. I want everyone to be able to witness the history of a people long gone and the incredible formations the earth has left behind. Take a picture and bring the memory home. Tell someone about it. Sharing what was witnessed is a mark not left on the earth, but left with someone else. And who knows where that could lead…
(This post is not only for the Weekly Challenge but also part of a Guest Blogger project for Blogging 201. A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of posting a Guest Blogger (Please check out her awesome blog!) and I am only now able to fulfill my end of the bargain! You can find my blog here.)
Featured Image: http://www.nps.gov
“Hot” and “Cold” photos by Chey