Cairns along the journey of an LDS woman
The other week I went hiking in Arches National Park in southern Utah. Started out to the Landscape Arch, and felt so good that I continued on to the Double O Arch. It was quite breathtaking, especially the view from the far side. The day was mildly warm, and a bit overcast, but the skies seemed quite brilliant from behind the Double O. The smaller O on the bottom is quite small, and gives one the feeling of looking through lopsided binoculars.
Again, felt good, and continued on the Primitive Path out to Dark Angel, which I suppose could look like a heavenly being to some, but looked mostly like a phallic symbol to me … or maybe I’m just preoccupied. Today was a good day to be hiking … mostly had the trail to myself, but it was populated enough that I knew somebody would probably be along within an hour if I got injured. The trail was soft and silty for the most part, with several traverses over rocky areas. Quite frequently, I’d scramble across a difficult area and have one of those where-in-the-dickens-am-I-supposed-to-go-NOW? moments. Fortunately, I never had to wait long until my eye scanned a friendly little cairn that pointed the correct way out. Spotting these cairns along the way brought a smile to my face as I began to think of the women I have known, or known of, who have acted as cairns along my own journey as an LDS woman. And, if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to offer them my thanks.
First and foremost, my mother. She’s not so much a cairn as the guide on the other side of a walkie talkie, giving me the freedom I need, but always available when I need her. Independent, intelligent and honorable in all her doings.
Carol Lynn Pearson’s book, “Will I Ever Forget This Day.” Found it on my parent’s bookshelf when I was perhaps twelve. I’ve read it to pieces, literally. Recently bought a replacement copy. I looked forward to my college years, comforted that there were other ambitious, educated LDS women paving the way. Learned the importance and joy of keeping a journal. I don’t currently keep a paper journal, but view blogging as a modern interpretation.
C. Johnston, my Mia Maid advisor. Dynamic, warm, intelligent, witty, and individualistic. Helped me through those awkward two years of transitioning between childhood and adolescence. Also an educational role model, as she was completing her masters in English even while pregnant and having a husband in school.
J. Remy, best college buddy, first LDS friend, mentor and big sister. At a time when I was ready to pull away from the gospel, she helped me find reasons to stay invested. Because I of her I got involved in Lambda Delta Sigma, got my first massage in a hot tub, and learned to quilt and like floral dresses. More than a decade later, she’s still one of my best friends, although the floral dresses were long ago DI’d.
Chieko Okazaki. Through her talks and books, I’ve come to see Relief Society as more than a place to learn to can peaches and make felt boards. At its (and my) best, RS is a place where we can more fully develop our relationship with deity and other sisters in the gospel regardless of age, race, profession, marital status or children.
All the Missouri Mavens and Company. You know who you are. Thanks for all the friendship and support over the years.
The Exponent II Blog. It continues to be quite a heady and stimulating journey to discourse and interact with all of you. Thank you so much for your thought provoking posts and comments. In my wranglings with difficult questions that sometimes have no reachable answers, it’s comforting to know there are other questioners, and to gain your support and wisdom. In this vein, I’d like to hear from you about who or what have been your cairns along this journey of LDS womanhood.