Dear Editor:

Upon my return to Moab three years ago, I was totally appalled at what had happened to “my” town after a 10-year hiatus. I detested everything – the mega-project that was being undertaken where Conrad's Co-Op (now Moonflower Market) once stood, the influx of side-by-side vehicles in my favorite canyon, the smell of urine at the teacup area of Faux Falls, and the hordes of seemingly mindless tourists I sold trinkets to at a local shop.

I hid, tried to schedule my hikes around the groups of Jeeps and side-by-sides, refused to meet anyone new and only went into City Market when my cupboard was totally bare. I truly believed that the beautiful community I had enjoyed here for 30 years was gone.

Well, I had an epiphany this last weekend and it has spun my perception 180 degrees. Two events that were offered for free here are what did it: the last free concert in the park on July 26 and the Soup Bowl workshop on July 27. I want to deeply express my thanks to Cassie and Joanne as well as all the other folks who generously donated their time, energy and money so that these offerings could happen.

The community in this valley hasn't died! I found it again when I danced to Shinyribs in a group of old friends and new (but now welcome) folks of the valley. All the bands that Cassie brought here were stellar, as well as the local acts who opened for them, but the last band was able to get everyone up and dancing in a celebration of life, joy and community that I simply cannot capture with words.

Following the evening of dance was a workshop (not connected) on July 27 that was hosted by Desert Sun Ceramics and taught by Joanne, one of our many talented clay artists here as well as an inspiring instructor.

Again, this event was free and possible due to generous local folks willing to donate their time and money so that it could happen. I enjoyed a similar feeling of spiritual oneness with community during the hours of quiet, creative energy in the clay studio that I had during the evening before.

Muchas gracias to all of the shining souls who gave me back my belief that Moab hasn’t lost its heart and soul. To all the sponsors of these events, thank you for your support of community here. To those folks who took time to do all it takes to create these events — you rock!

P.S. A wee bit of advice to anyone who was unable to come out and dance Friday evening due to work commitments: Next year, call in sick!