On the sweetness of Mormon life
The sky is smoke. Red sun at morning, red sun at setting. The Stake planned this youth pioneer trek in remote western New Mexico without planning on Arizona burning down.
The same wind that blows the smoke blows the dust. It blows in eyes, onto straw hats and bonnets, in and through the handcarts. But enough dust remains on the ground to drag down your wheels on the steep slopes of the cedar-covered hills.
At night the bonneted and suspendered youth dance in a wash to Gangstas Paradise before doing a square dance.
Your legs are sore and your hands are raw. You apply chapstick religiously.
A woman in full pioneer dress invites you to join the Jacob Hamblin Facebook group.
You belong to the self-proclaimed orphans’ cart. You are proud–your handcart ‘family’ is proud–of being scraped together from the odds and ends of other carts, having the fewest members of any cart, and having the youngest average members too. Y’all outsing, outpush, and outboast.
You already know some of the youth of your cart. Somehow, dressed all alike and playing a role, they are more distinctly themselves than you have known them before. You struggle to not let them move you too outwardly.
Absurdly, your mind keeps turning to poetry.
Handcarts on high hills.
Pines and greening oaks. Dust blows.
Trek. We push, we sing.