Conifer and blossoms, Salt Lake City

Fuzzy!

Fuzzy!

Doesn’t this gorgeous blue conifer look furry and wintery? Blue conifers do not seem to grow in the swampy south and I just love seeing them in the northern climes. It was really very hot, mid 90s, and yet the conifer was in full bloom. This post is really just a collection of photographs but the last few weeks have made me wonder why Salt Lake City didn’t flick my switch. Every destination is a prospective new home in my head so I am picky about the pluses and minuses.

Green Hydrangea

Green Hydrangea

I mentioned in previous posts about Salt Lake City that I was concerned about the number of homeless people, many of whom were mentally ill. I could see that there were two issues; Mormons are very generous to those in need and life, perhaps, must be extra difficult if you are mentally ill or alcoholic in a strictly religious environment. When I spoke to people about the problem, they said that many of them were incomers and I quite believe that. It is a safe city so those most vulnerable may feel safer and there is a homeless shelter. There were signs all over the center saying, “Don’t give the homeless money, you know where it goes” or words to that effect. I usually concur with that but on two occasions people asked me to pay for a meal for them.

sunflower-seeds

Finally, I decided to do something about one young man who really concerned me. I had noticed him at 8 am on the main drag, muttering to his self and likely hearing voices. The whole day was roasting hot and I saw him again at 5 pm in the same place. He seemed agitated and I thought my accent (and general eccentricity) might frighten him. I assumed that the locals were generous with cold drinks and food but he was so ill, he should have been in a hospital. When I got back to my hotel there was a police cruiser with a perfectly blond, clean cut young officer in it. I motioned to him to lower the window and immediately his face looked concerned.

white-on-blue-hydrangea

In short, I told him the whole saga; he listened carefully and told me that there was a homeless shelter quite close. I explained that community mental health had been my field of work and that this young man was really ill. To his credit and my relief, he said he would go and check on him. I know he thought I was a crazy lady but maybe I opened his eyes to a problem that goes beyond people who live on the open road.

Blossoms at the Temple Complex

Blossoms at the Temple Complex

There is really no criticism of the people of Utah – they are generous and friendly (if a bit odd) but if I lived there I would spend all my time helping waifs and strays. We have so many people in Houston in the same position and they usually beg under bridges. I try to keep some gift cards for fast food places – although they are not always received with gratitude! One lady was about to argue that she would prefer money until she saw my face…

Multi-colored blossoms in park

Multi-colored blossoms in park

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23 thoughts on “Conifer and blossoms, Salt Lake City

  1. You get my Angel of the week award. Truly. It is so easy to walk by. We both know that, but you didn’t. YOu spoke to an officer 👮 and you made him listen and I hope he listened sufficiently to go and give some real help to a poor soul who needed help. Mental illness and homelessness are all to ready bedfellows and thought it is impossible to help it is heartening to know that you were able to help one at least. The flowers are divine, by the way.

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  2. Key West is in the same position. On our first visit here my husband And I were loved that people of all economic backgrounds seemed to be treated with an equal amount of respect. We would see these chosen road travellers interact with the residents in happy exchanges and only occasionally would you see a person begging because there were plenty of day-to-day employment where a homeless person could make enough to feed themselves and buy other necessities, a thriving Church Outreaches, Salvation Army store and other organizations that provide clothing along with a large homeless shelter that provides a place to sleep, toilets and showers. Almost all homeless here seem to own bikes or trikes and smart phones. All this, unfortunately, has made Key West a target in recent years for lack of a better word, bums. People who are not mentally or physically unable to work, they just don’t want to support themselves. They are biligerent, occasionally violent which has resulted in Key West residents now being unsympathetic and mistrustful to all homeless. Understandable (I once gave “needed” bus money to a woman and her “mother” just to see her about 15 minutes later when I had to return to the area to pick up a forgotten shopping list item and there she was with about five others, pooling their money to buy a bottle) but, at the same time sad that it has now become impossible to just trust that someone who asks you for help honestly needs a helping hand and not just a free ride.

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    • I am always wary of giving money because even mentally ill people might be self-medicating. There are always people who want a free ride but fewer in Houston. Our weather makes being on the streets unbearable and there are still plenty of low pay jobs.

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    • Beautifully put, Roy and thank you. What we really need in the States is a change in the law to make it easier to look after and involuntary hold seriously mentally ill people. How many of the recent shootings were from people who clearly had mental health issues no matter their religion?
      I can’t even say the T word, right now. Neither are good candidates but there is only one logical choice. Sorry for the little vent there, Roy!

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  3. The blue spruce is actually one of my favorite trees! It’s not native to New England (only the red and black spruce are….which cannot hold a candle to that lovely blue conifer you beautifully photographed), but I believe it is possible to grow here. I think it was amazingly kind of you to look at for that poor sick gentleman’s well-being also. I love reading about random acts of kindness such as that that restore one’s faith in humanity. Thank you for sharing! I’m looking forward to reading more from you soon :). Have a great weekend!

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