“I don’t care,” Mom reacted as Dad explained his concern. In my experience, peoples’ declarations of “I don’t care!” betray a deep caring about the very things they disavow caring for. I do it myself, though each time I utter the phrase, I pause to examine why I care so much, and I find that instead of apathetic, I am feeling threatened, or stressed, or vulnerable, and wish I did not have to care so much. Dad said “I don’t care” when the resident mule deer nibbled all the tiger lily blooms just before they opened—irresistible moist sweet morsels. He loves to see the doe and her fawns saunter across the back lawn, and delights when they bed down under the low pine boughs. Mom and Dad and their visiting children and grandchildren never tire of calling out, “Look! Deer!” at the sleek lithe wild pretty creatures glimpsed through the kitchen window. I opened the plantation blinds Tuesday morning to see a miniature mule deer covered in creamy spots chewing contentedly on lilac leaves and felt, like Dad, that I did not care if the fawn consumed every flower in the garden. So, while the neighbor shoos the deer out of his yard, we sit at the kitchen table and stare at them with wonder in our own yard. Still, I shaved a whole bar of Irish Spring in and around the lily bushes in hopes the new blooms would be spared. “I have watched them cross the road,” Dad explained. “They stand at the curb and look left, then right, then cross when there are no cars.” Hunger and cold push the mule deer out of the mountains that tower above our neighborhood, and once acclimatized they never leave. Those mountains called to us this week, so we drove to the Albion Basin at the very top of Little Cottonwood Canyon to see the wildflowers and to hike to Cecret Lake. A winter avalanche filled the alpine lake with ice and rocks and mud, the brown piles of ice still melting in July. We asked the forest ranger about the lake’s name, and he told us that while 19th-Century miners were hard-working and enterprising, they were not necessarily men of letters—they spelled phonetically, and Cecret sounded every bit as correct as Secret, so their Cecret name for the lake stuck. The glacial basin nestling Cecret Lake is decorated with jagged rock escarpments, pine and fir forests, and wildflower meadows. The many beautiful flower colors and shapes inspired us: exotic creamy columbine; blue beardtongue and larkspur; purple lupine; pink and red paintbrush; yellow glacier lilies; delicate sticky geraniums; white and pink and red firecracker penstemon; and tiny-petaled blue forget-me-not’s. “I call them ‘remember-me’s’,” Hannah announced, to my delight, and I pondered how nice it is to be remembered, and wanted, and respected, and loved. How nice it is when someone cares.
(Pictured above: field of Forget-Me-Not’s in the Albion Basin.)
(Pictured below: the Albion Basin, near Cecret Lake.)