May 312014

There are no trees, except for one, standing tall as a colorful sentinel in this vast expanse of white salt.  Karl Momen, an artist now living in Sweden, envisioned and created the Tree of Life.  He donated the 87 foot tall sculpture to our state and thus became The Tree of Utah.
Tree of Utah
Photo by randomfactor

Why would an artist from Europe donate a million dollar sculpture to Utah?  Let’s go back to when he was a 15 year old painter, living in Iran.  He was commissioned to paint a six foot high official portrait of Stalin.  Some years later when Communism was denounced and the Shah of Iran was returned to power, Momen watched as his portrait of Stalin was trampled underfoot.  Ironically, he was commissioned to paint a 12 foot high portrait of the Shah of Iran.  When the Shah was denounced, Momen watched on television as troop carriers rolled over this portrait in the street.

As a renegade in the art world, I believe he needed his own memorial that would withstand the test of time. When he stopped his car on the Bonneville Salt Flats to add a pinch of salt to his lunch of tomatoes, he saw what seemed like an alien panorama. That night he dreamt about “adding a focus of color in this endless expanse of featureless terrain.”
The Tree of Life
Photo by F. Tronchin

The concrete sculpture’s tree trunk holds up six spheres, coated with natural rock and minerals that were mined and cut in southern Utah.  Near the base are several hollow sphere segments that symbolize the changing of the seasons.

Not being very artistic, I keep seeing a pole with tennis balls stuck on top. What do you see? Recently, an ugly metal fence was reportedly added to protect people from falling leaves (aka corroding cement). I think it was meant to stop the graffiti artists from marring Karl Momen’s dream.
Coming up on Metaphor sculpturePhoto by c_nilsen

Parking on the shoulder of the Interstate is technically illegal, since there isn’t an exit ramp by the Tree of Utah. A visitor’s center was proposed by Karl Momen, but is waiting for donations to cover construction costs. Should you decide to stop, you probably won’t get a ticket. I wouldn’t know, since my law abiding husband refuses to take that chance every time we drive by.

Have you had any dreams about a creating something you would be proud of, no matter the cost?

Dec 282013

Yule logs, candles and anything else made with fire created cheerful warmth for families during their holiday season for centuries.early electric tree Christmas Lights at the ZooChristmas zoo lights
The tradition of placing small candles on trees began in the 19th century in Germany.  They were glued with melted wax to a tree branch or attached by pins.

Around 1902, small lanterns and glass balls held the candles.

Trees were brought into homes right before Christmas and candles were lit for only a few minutes each night.  Buckets of water and sand stood nearby in case the tree caught fire.

One of Thomas Edison’s inventors created the first string of electric lights in 1882.  The red, white and blue bulbs were the size of walnuts and very expensive.

In 1917, after a tragic fire in New York at Christmas time was started by candles, affordable tree lights were invented.

Our family tradition, during the long and dark nights of the Christmas holiday season, is visiting the Hogle Zoo.

While most of the Zoo’s animals are sleeping, we ooh and ah at all the millions of lights that decorate bridges, trees and pathways.

Hot chocolate kept our grandchildren warm, while watching polar bears and seals play in the pools.

What holiday lighting displays are you enjoying in your area of the world?


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