Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seeking Terra Salis

I've only been to Antelope Island three times in my life, but each time I feel like I'm slipping into an alien Other-world, trading Terra Firma for Terra Salis. The island lies in the middle of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. A narrow strip of road is all that connects the shoreline to an alternate reality free of the bustle of civilization.

The waves whip small mounds of salt crystals onto the island's banks as sleek flocks of seagulls dive into the waters after tiny brine shrimp. Herds of bison graze on wispy tufts of grass between rugged rocks. Sometimes, the wind stalls and I catch a whiff of lake stink, other times the wind tears at my senses until all I can feel and taste is the delicious sting of the salty air, and I realize: Antelope Island has stung my soul.

Maybe it's the sheer concentration of salt lacing the waters and tracing glittering patterns on the sand that scratches through my jaded skin, reaching something deeper. I once heard that the Great Salt Lake contains enough salt to supply the world for 100 years. I don't know if this accurate, but Antelope Island supplies me with an essential reminder: To be what I am, what I have forgotten, what I may yet become. I am reminded that just as salt provides vital nutrition to the human body, so dreams are another kind of salt that nourish humanity. 

Let me explain. In Matthew 5, verse 13 of the Bible, it reads: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." The demands of life tread our dreams out of us sometimes. Wishes lose their savor. All our hopes seem "good for nothing," castaway stars. But I won't stop my improbable ink endeavors, not when I know that a saline island gem still gleams in the remnant waters of an ice age. 

Antelope Island isn't just the "salt of the earth," it's the salt of dreams. Mine. 


  1. Wow! I'm excited that you have a blog. I love Antelope Island too, and you've captured the vast otherworldliness of it it perfectly. Thanks for writing this.