Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Farewell, Dear Mountain Home

Out past the western prairies, and over a mountain range, you will find a small valley. On its eastern border are high mountain peaks, providing shadow and protection. They stand tall, pillars of God, snow-covered, and still. On its western border lies a calm lake. The valley is green, covered with trees, and yes – a river runs through it. And these peaks, these high mountains, this river and this lake, are beautiful beyond any singing of them.

Between this lake and the mountain cliffs is my home, and today is the first time I am truly leaving it – for I suppose you don't truly leave a place until you no longer know when or if you will return. As a missionary I left for two years, but always knowing that awaiting my return were my beautiful mountain peaks, my quiet and soft valley. But now, as I leave for school, there is no certainty in the future.

In our modern society, it seems that many have lost their attachment to place. They wander about, homeless in a way, without a place to call their own. But this place, these mountains, these hills, these rivers – they are, and always will be, uniquely mine. Why? Because it was here, under the mountain shadows, on the banks of the rivers, and on the valley hills, that I became me. The land is part of my personality, the hills pieces of my soul. And I will always cherish them.

There is a hymn in our hymnbook that is almost never sung, but which ends sweetly with these simple words:
Words cannot tell how well I love thee
Nor speak my longing when I roam.
My heart alone can cry to heaven,
“God bless my own dear mountain home.”

And so, as I leave, I'll say this silent prayer in my heart – a prayer for the mountains and hills, for the rivers and lakes, but also for the friends and family whom I will leave behind:

May God bless my own dear mountain home.


  1. You are so poetical, Mr. Hess. Well said. Have a safe trip. Thank you two for all you did for our ward family and our family.

  2. Made me cry a little, Isaac. I never truly feel at home except right in this spot, with the lake on one side and Timpanogos on the other. Perhaps it also is that way because our ancestors also loved this place, bought this frontier with their sweat and their lives, planted the trees, and watered the earth. Not to mention built the steel plant....

  3. Whenever we go back to Utah for a vacation to visit our family, I realize how much we took for granted all our lives living there! To have such a playground in our back yard! Now's your chance to explore other territories and find the good in flat ground. At least you can have big trees and forests without having to drive way up high in elevation!