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Junipero Serra Rock

Junipero Serra Rock

Friends –

In my two places of abode there are two separate monoliths. They are very much alike, and for this reason I call them the same name – Junipero Serra. One is in Utah and the other in California. So much alike, and yet, they are so very different. Here are the similarities:

Both are massive shapes made of sandstone or concrete, each which must relinquish itself to gravitational pull of several tons.

Both are lumpy and curiously shaped as if formed in play dough by a kindergarten class.

Both have 'faces' that could either be laughing or surprised or upset. Their moods seem to change with the shifting angle of the sun.

And most importantly, both have a massive finger pointing in a direction that surely is important.

Then, there are the differences:

The younger Junipero Serra lives in a civilized world. Anyone who has travelled the busy California 280 Freeway has seen this pointing friar. In 1976 he was placed at a highway rest stop in populous Bay Area and has been visited frequently ever since. Many laugh at his bulky persona and want him to be replaced with something more comely. But, from one bulky person sympathizing for another – I say 'Let him stay!' Clearly, I feel a kinship with this California Serra. While some say he points west towards the freeway, I say it is toward the glory of the Pacific Ocean which is clearly within his view.

The older (and wiser?) Serra is located in a remote and unpopulated area of Utah. She sits on the top of a wall in Tusher Canyon in a place that visiting her requires hiking and even moderate climbing skills. She was formed several million years ago by geological forces that cannot be duplicated, leaving her figure in a strategic location. She is not well-known, is seldom visited, and therefore escapes the critique of the land-formation connoisseur who might otherwise ask her to be replaced. I have felt some kinship with this particular figure as well, who seemingly points in the direction of some of my favorite natural skyscrapers – Fisher Towers.

You won't need me to help you visit the California Serra. Anyone can drive there. But should you want to see the older, the first, and the original Utah Serra? Just give me a call. We can take you there.

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