Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Field Trip: Yesterday's Work, Today's Pleasure

As some of you more faithful readers know, I work a short day on Thursday and have Friday-Sundays off.
To make the transition from "Employee" to "Free Spirit" on Thursday afternoons, I try to go explore something in the downtown area before heading home.
Last Thursday it was a wonderful small park about three blocks from where I work.
Long ago, in the late 1800's, the property belonged to Brigham Young and served as a kitchen garden/orchard for his large family.
Newcomers to the area frequently found employment working in his gardens until they could get settled on their own properties.
To commemorate those long ago times, the park was created as a sculpture garden, capturing daily life of those pioneer workers.

I think any mother of a boy child can relate to this sculpture: what is it about boys and sticks?
The hardworking mother knows to keep her boy close at hand, letting him play as he will as she toils.

I appreciate the strength that is portrayed in this nearly life sized sculpture. It is particularly fun to see in the summer when the water flows through the real life crops (in this case peas and onions).

Seeing her work in the typical long sleeves and full skirt of the day makes me pause and count my blessings: I routinely gather most of my produce while wheeling a cart through an air conditioned grocery story, comfortably attired according to the season...which means bare legs and arms in the summers.

How quiet and hopeful she would have been, this imaginary woman of the garden. Her work was not for trendy carbon foot step saving food production; she was gardening well aware that her family was counting on this garden for their future meals.

As I walked the shady path beyond the statue, I was entertained by a musician filling the air with sweet notes...

sounds that were sweet enough to match the sweet fragrance of the blooming peonies against the fences.

The lady of the hoe had a friend (sister wife?) who stood at the end of the row, looking at water and soil mixed in the cup of her hands.

A little further on men were hard at work, harnessing the stream for use at a water wheel.

Utah's state motto is Industry; it's symbol is the beehive. Work was an expected part of life and was celebrated as a good thing by those who settled Utah.

I often marvel at what they managed to create with simple muscle power and hand tools.

Team work...a way to build community; a way to invest in each other's future.

Was it all work for those pioneers?

Again...if boys are involved....

You know there was horse play and jumping into the mill pond on a hot summer day!
Plenty of people now days see this scene and think "oh how pretty!"
Would many of them know why such a structure was built?
Would they think it was just to make a splashy sound with water falling from the wheel?
To my delight, the park planners included a means to pass insight and knowledge along.

I think the workers in this garden area might have been particularly curious about the use of this structure.

Free concerts in the park each summer?
Actually not too surprising; Brigham Young was a great advocate of music and theater.
He led people who worked hard, but knew how to enjoy and make sweet music too.
Is it a sad commentary that my life with all the modern conveniences still has me so busy that I have yet to attend one of these concerts?
I think it is...

(I personally enjoyed a few sun warmed peas fresh from their pod as I walked about.)

Was this garden a one-of-a-kind thing in early Salt Lake City? fact the city (originally called Zion) was designed to make such farming possible for just about everyone. The city plan won awards in it's day for being so forward thinking and practical.

Just across the street from the park are large colorful houses on lots that clearly have been subdivided to suit building needs of the modern era.

The view the other way is of the state capitol.
There is not a bad view in any direction!

So this is how it was was..a city block of 3 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon.

Just me, a flautist, a mother, grandmother and two children are there to enjoy the space.

I have to say it was hard not to ask the small family to pose for a picture. The small boy in the stroller could have passed for the twin of the wee lad playing with a stick in the water; the women were attired to match the garb of the women at work in the field.

I wondered if the sculptural scene struck them as depicting "modern day" or "olden times" activities?

And what did the little girl think of me as I went about in my slacks and sleeveless top?

(your chance to read more if you wish...just click on the picture to enlarge.)

The park is situated just slightly below street level, and a berm of wild flowers catch the breeze that blows freely through the open iron work fence.
Such a pretty place to visit, and so close to where I work.
There is a reason I rarely go there on a work day:
I'm afraid I would find it too hard to leave!


myletterstoemily said...

i admire the mormons for their hard
working character and moral lives.

this was an enjoyable tour of a
lovely tour.

thank you.

ellen b. said...

That's a great way to get ready for your long weekend. I like that adventure idea. Lovely sculptures!

Just a little something from Judy said...

Thank you for taking me with you to this beautiful park. I really enjoyed the field trip, and would love to visit a park like this in person. What an enjoyable tour of all the sculptures.