Finding common ground

finding common ground
Dallas Hyland, the author, and his family on a local hike. | Photo courtesy of Hyland family

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

The last day of summer was this past Friday but as usual here in the southwest, you would hardly know it gauging from the temperatures.

I spent the weekend hiking around Cedar Breaks, and the sub-60 degree weather was a welcome reprieve from the grueling hot days of the high desert, as well as a preview of the coming attraction that is winter.

It is always a source of immense joy for me to take my young sons into the outdoors and experience through them the awe and wonder of the world around us. Despite our being on a well-marked and maintained trail, in my sons’ world it was a trail-blazing adventure into uncharted mountain terrain. We saw deer, we peered over steep ledges, and we contemplated an encounter with a bear or a mountain lion. We ate lunch on a prairie. We ate life.

Their unbridled enthusiasm is contagious, even for a seasoned, old ground pounder like myself; and it got me to thinking a little about some of the negative rhetoric that others and I find ourselves engaged in on a daily basis here at home.

I listen to a lot of people meticulously make the case for how bad things are in this town from a myriad of vantage points. For the most part, they make reasonable cases for their claims. I admit, as if I actually have to tell you, I do more than my fair share of looking for the next thing to gripe about, and in this small, little-big town, there is never a shortage of material.

But there is something I am not conveying here in my column; and in not doing so, I am failing as a writer who is attempting to maintain at least the semblance of impartiality with the intent of helping the process of meaningful dialogue on matters of consequence.

What I learn from watching my boys is actually universal in the great outdoors, insomuch as it can be found almost anywhere in the world, but I am partial to this place. I am partial to the southwest not just because I live here, but because I see in it what is likely the most pristine and unhindered beauty to be found anywhere in the world.

People come here from all over the world to take in not only the natural beauty, but to take advantage of the fact that this is an over sized playground that boasts 300-plus days a year of sunshine and some of the most renowned, world class adventures to be found.

It was while watching my boys that it occurred to me what may be lacking in the community is the humility it takes to find and recognize common ground when making decisions.

This is not a pitch for local tourism as much as it is to say “I get it.” I get that at the heart of the entire negative rhetoric may lay a common theme. That is, how best to strike the balance between the impending growth we face and protecting this pristine beauty for generations to come.

I cannot help but be optimistic and believe that regardless of political bents or ideologies, this is at the core of most people seeking to better protect and preserve this place and that it is a good place to begin in future dialogue.

At the end of the day, whether you are staunch to the right or left, you should, on some level, be able to identify with those on the other side.

I have long and often contended that most of the world’s problems can be solved around a campfire. A place of gathering where the events of the day are shared and the challenges to come are pondered. All draw close for warmth, a common need, and see clearer the person next to them as someone just like themselves. It is in those moments of bonding, that a means for conducting oneself in daylight hours can be approached from the vantage point of understanding.

In the weeks to come, we have much to discuss as our community faces some much-needed changes. As we go forward, let’s be mindful not only of our differences, but also our commonalities. We just might surprise ourselves.

See you out there.

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Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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