I've been bumming around Southern Utah since 1973, when I was 8 and my dad took me backpacking in the Zion backcountry for three indelible nights.
It's my favorite father-son memory.
In the decades since, I've returned to the region countless times -- with friends, geology classmates, with my children, and all by my lonesome. One spring in the 90s, I spent two weeks hitchhiking my way from Canyonlands over to St. George. The whole fortnight cost me $70.
I've been around the world and Southern Utah is the place I always want to go back to; the place where, when I'm there, I don't want to be anywhere else.
This is holy land.
That's why the president's announcement that he wants to chop down two national monuments -- Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante -- felt like a sacrilege.
Look, I think most of us feel a little shellacked these days -- I say the serenity prayer every morning just to make it through the day -- but last week an idea came to me. Maybe God had granted me the courage to change one tiny thing I could: my Christmas.
I could donate my Christmas.
So, for what it's worth, the only present I'm giving myself, and the only thing I'm asking friends and family to give me, is a donation to Earthjustice.
They're an environmental-law nonprofit representing a number of other conservation organizations in a lawsuit to protect the monuments.
So, if you're reading this and we thinking of getting me a gift certificate to Powell's (books, sigh) or a big mixing bowl or some running gloves, don't.
Get the planet a little something.
Send a few bucks to Earthjustice instead.