Zion National Park, UT

At the Zion Lodge there’s a ranger with baby face approaching various groups of people who are cooling off on the shady lawn. His shoulders are a little sloped and his pants are little high. He passes by me and walks up to a family of four. “I’m going to be giving a talk in twenty minutes,” he tells them, “if you’d like to stick around.” They look genuinely interested and the mother of the foursome nods. “It’ll be on safety,” he says. “I’m going to talk about all the people who have died here at Zion.” The mother lets out a nervous laugh, and the ranger continues on–greeting people and telling them about his talk on safety, ignoring the other taken aback faces.

I collect my things and head off for the canyon trails. When I finish my hike, safe and sound, I pass by the lodge and the ranger is there giving his talk. There’s visual aids, umms, and uhs. It’s like freshman year speech class all over again.