My Life Story: Underneath the Sky

If I were to describe my childhood with one word I would choose: full.

My childhood was full of siblings. Full of aunts, uncles and cousins (many of them living across the street, up the road, around the corner). Full of traditions--holidays with fireworks or egg hunts or spoils from Santa's bag. Full of friends, sweet, dear girls who were kind and funny.

It was full of energetic teachers who encouraged me to write and be creative. I wrote pages of poetry and stories, speeches and plays. Every year my mother would write down quotes my teachers said about me, "she's a natural leader" "she's kind to everyone" and to my shock, my favorite teacher of all Mrs. Busco wrote that I was a "beauty" on the valentine she gave me that year in school.

I had a full life of church activity. I grew up in the epicenter of Mormonism, across the street from BYU and blocks away from the MTC and Provo Temple. Sundays we attended church and had huge family dinners in the late afternoons. We went to ward parties and camp outs, all of us arriving in our two-toned Suburbans. I babysat for the young couples in the ward, their babies with matching names and rented basement apartments.

My childhood was full of trips to Seattle, Southern California and St. George. But there was no better trip, in my mind, then the triannual visits we'd made to my favorite spot on earth: Lake Powell. It was there we would park our boat in a secluded alcove, camping underneath the stars, swimming in the cool water early in the morning, staying in all day letting the hot sun gradually warm the deep lake. We'd take day trips to Iceberg Canyon with its majestic red walls and serpentine pathways, perfect cliff diving spots, the natural artistry would hold me spellbound. It was at Lake Powell where I could feel spiritualism as it translated into the intricately carved canyons, the reds, yellows, the green of the morning water, the stars like glittering confetti in the dark, the blue--so brilliant--of the wild desert sky.

It was at Lake Powell, after days of letting my body dance with the sun and shadows, my skin touched with freckles like those stars we'd count at night, my lips red and puffed from the dry air, my hair a wild frock of wind-whipped curls, my nerves aware of sensations, my soul at ease, I'd look at myself in the faux-cracked mirror in the cabin of the boat and felt full of beauty. Perhaps the very beauty Mrs. Busco saw in me as an impressionable girl in her fifth grade classroom. A beauty not only marked by my physical presence, but a deeper sense of beautiful, one that made me feel powerful, mysterious, incomparable, eternal and full of the love of God.

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