Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day Two: Mountain Drive and . . . Sundance

In my last blog we'd arrived in Salt Lake City and did Salt Lake City stuff. In this blog we are off to the mountains . . . driving into those amazing snow covered peaks -- one car midst a caravan of spring break skiers, off, not to ski but to see. What we did not expect was to become part of a "happening" at Sundance.

Fans of all things Sundance, we made a sharp right off highway 189 onto 92. The terrain changed immediately from desert to fir forested cliffs. It was a narrow road, which surprised me and I wondered how the many who gather at Sundance for film festivals coordinated their travel through such a narrow and "falling rocks" zone. (Found out later that the festival has grown too large for Sundance and takes place at various theaters in Provo).

The parking lot at Sundance was packed!!! Skiers of all sizes, shapes, and ages -- hauling skis off tops of cars, clipping boots, donning hats, goggles and gloves. A young man wearing a florescent vest and directing traffic, leaned in our window and asked: "Are you here for the author reading?"

"Author Reading?" I asked. Bill added "My wife's an author." "Well then," he said, "second parking lot, under the gateway, to the Tree House Room."

We followed his directions and found ourselves surrounded by elegantly dressed people moving toward a sumptuous buffet. "Your reservation?" the woman at the desk asked. We didn't have reservations, we hadn't known about this event, but we'd love to attend we told her. It seemed so serendipitous that we should land at Sundance in time for an author's reading. "I'll see what I can do," the woman replied. "We are booked solid but maybe there will be a no show."

I stood awkwardly at the desk while people with reservations filed past and received copies of author Fred Krupp's new book Earth: The Sequel: The race to reinvent energy and stop global warming. And the wait paid off! For a mere $95 per person, we could partake of brunch and program. Because we did not have reservations they could not give us a book but they gave us nameplates that he could sign later.

The price took our breath away but as it seemed so serendipitous that we should have arrived just as this event was starting, and two places were available, we made the plunge. A couple was already seated at our table (which happened to be next to the dessert table) and greeted us with a "and how is it that you find yourselves at this table?" Apparently their son, who was to have attended the event with them had decided to ski instead and we were the lucky recipients of that decision. Sandra and Robert were warm and fascinating dinner partners -- avid readers, active environmentalists, and great conversationalists.

I noticed Bill talking up a storm with the man next to him in the buffet line ... who turned out to be none other than author Fred Krupp himself. And later, while Bill was waiting in line for the mens' room, who should walk into the hallway and introduce himself but Robert Redford himself! Bill was beaming. His timing, I must say, was especially astute. I should take some lessons from him.

Krupp's talk was exciting -- far from the doom and gloom many of us have come to expect from environmentalists. Krupp, who has headed the Environmental Defense Fund for years, had exciting ventures to share with us . . . news of entrepreneurs who have developed amazing technologies to combat global warming.

As I was listening I thought that this is where the national stimulus package should have gone . . . jobs the government could have fostered by applying forward thinking and launching a full scale national initiative of environmental technologies geared toward making this nation independent of foreign oil and to our boosting our national economy.

There is more to this amazing day but that lies ahead in another blog.

Photo is of Fred Krupp signing a nameplate for me.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors." Her book The Scent of God was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006.

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