Posts Tagged ‘Spiral Jetty’

 “This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upwards all the time.” Frances E. Willard.

The Spiral Jetty -- Photo by Michael David Murphy

Travels With Maggie

Sometimes you just have to do something even if it makes no sense. This was true the day my good friend, Kim, and I drove out to Rozzel Point on the northern end of Utah’s Great Salt Lake to see the Spiral Jetty.

The earthworks sculpture was created from black basalt rock by artist Robert Smithson in 1970 at a time when the lake was near its historic low. Within 10 years, however, the rising waters of the lake hid it from view.

Kim and I viewed the jetty in 2003, when the lake level was once again on the low end of its spectrum. By this time, the dark basalt rock was encrusted with salt, and its now white and jagged outer coat outlined in pink. The color of the lake water is a result of bacteria and algae that thrive in the heavy salt content now present in this section of the lake because of decreased water circulation due to a railroad causeway across the lake.

Looking out at the jetty, my friend Kim and I shared the same thought. There was no way we could come this far without taking a walk to the center of the spiral. It was as if there would be a magic reward for doing so. But afterward, all we had to show for our difficult efforts were salt encrusted legs and wet tennis shoes full of grainy crystals that made walking difficult.

Well, there was our great sense of satisfaction.

If you visit the jetty, which is once again now visible, don’t pass by the nearby Golden Spike National Historic Site without stopping. It was here where the Union and Pacific railroads joined their rails in 1869. A visit here, where the first transcontinental rail line became a reality, makes more sense than walking the spiral jetty, or as some might say, creating such a nonsensical structure in the middle of nowhere in the first place.

Sometimes, however, a person has to do what a person has to do.

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