This weekend my wife, son and I went on a hike around Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Just as we started on the trail heading around the lake we met Jim, a forest ranger.
Jim is an older gentleman and was wearing a forest ranger uniform, sunglasses, a straw hat and a neatly trimmed goatee. He was quick to say hello and ask how we were doing. We chatted for a bit and then continued walking. After we made the loop we caught up with Jim when I explained my project and asked if he’d write in my journal. He agreed.
Jim is the kind of guy who’s been around a while and seems to know everybody. After six years of working as a naturalist he seems quite at home at the ranger station and has a big leather office chair tucked in near a window where I watched him sit back to eat his brown bag lunch and write. Jim’s a popular guy – he could barely get a line down without someone coming up to talk to him.
“Jim is my friend,” a man from Hong Kong explained in a thick Chinese accent. This friend of Jim’s had a question about a particular kind of tree he’d seen while hiking (aspen) and Jim was quick to get to his feet to find a book to explain the finer points of the trees.
I think a half dozen or so people approached Jim to chat while I was waiting for him to finish his entry. He was friendly and patient with all of them – a testament to his good nature. Here’s what he wrote:
“Jim Light, Silver Lake
In the summer I work at Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon as a naturalist. This has been the best job that I ever had!!
My wife and I owned the Silver Fork Lodge for 35 years. During that time we raised our two sons – when they were old enough to go out on their own we sold the lodge and bought a house in the Silver Fork Community which we still live in.
Our sons are grown now. Luther lives in New Mexico, Ruidoso. His wife is a veterinarian and he takes care of the house and their 7 month-old son. He is also building a garage and workshop and plans on building a new house in the future out of earth blocks which he makes himself.
Our other son lives in Portland, Oregon. His wife is expecting their first child in the near future.”
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