It’s 4:15 AM, but I had to get up and write. I just saw Zion, and it was in Africa. But not just Africa. Parts were from Asia, maybe Mexico, and definitely a bit of sunny southern Utah was blended into its landscape. Many people were there, glad to wander and rejoice in the gifts that others had made. Some gifts were meant to be gazed upon, others to be climbed, many to be eaten, some to be worn, and others to be picked up gently and taken home. In all this exotic abundance there was no greed, just joy, a cautious joy as one wondered, “Is this gift meant for me? Should I nibble here, or take this?” Every spot was dazzling, largely made by human hands. There were structures, artwork, and numerous edible items revealing great talents from the participants, mostly the poor and humble, whose workmanship was in rich display. How did they make this art? Why was this dish so delicious? It was a buffet of art, food, and happiness without boundaries. We were all friends and we were all amazed.
The dream was clearly inspired by the joyous gathering we just had in the Appleton Wisconsin Stake at the crowded and joyous International Expo on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23, in our stake center in Neenah, Wisconsin. A touch of the dream was inspired by Bryce Canyon and a few slot canyons in southern Utah that my wife and I hiked recently. Some of the glitz in the dream came from the colorful, sparkling attire of the Hmong people who were prominent at the International Expo. Some of the delicious treats and hearty food was inspired by the abundance of exotic foods at the numerous booths at the Expo, included what I tasted at the Congolese/African booth (several hearty dishes including fufu, sombe, rice pilau), the very large Mexican booth, and the Hmong booth (best eggrolls ever). The surprising talents of many may have been inspired by the African wedding dance performed by a group of our African friends joined by other young women, including one of my amazing granddaughters. The cautious, restrained taking of gifts may have been stirred by my aversion to the natural behavior of a group of children when candy flowed from a large pinata at the event when strike after strike with a wooden club released a handful or two of candy each time and the crowd made a wild scramble for the goods, with the larger boys scooping up most, in spite of my requests that those who already had a ton of candy should let the smaller children go first to make sure they get some. That very brief scene was not the Zion of my dreams. The out-flowing of abundance was marred by the natural man and the result was tears for a couple young children. But it won’t be that way in Zion.
When I awoke I just marveled at how delightful the Zion of my dream was. Everybody mattered. Everybody was an artist or chef or dancer with gifts to offer, and everyone was able to partake. Where did all that talent and all that abundance come from? It was a sacred place of giving joyously, and at the risk of seeming greedy, I have to say that I want more of that.
Some photos will follow. Need to get back to sleep first.