One morning on our road trip we took a break from golf and went to Snow Canyon State Park in Utah. Just about 20 minutes from the town of Saint George, Snow Canyon is an overlooked gem of a park. https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/snow-canyon/
They're many different kinds of trails with funny names. “Red Sand” lived up to its name for sure and so did “Petrified Sand Dunes.” There is one trail called “Pioneer Names.” This short less than half-mile hike takes you to an arch where you can still see where pioneers from the 1850s wrote their names in axle grease. There are also hikes called “Lava Flow” and “Butterfly.” We found the lava flow and a lava tube but I never did see anything that resembled a butterfly.
Our very first hike was in the early morning. It was to a small slot canyon and was called Jenny Canyon. We thought we were the only ones there but as we entered the entrance to the canyon we saw a woman all in black crouched in front of a video camera. As we carefully approached, she silently signaled, “Shhhh”.
Fascinated we thought maybe she was filming an animal or something. Within a few seconds, a lovely woman came from behind the rocks dressed all in white in a long flowing dress with a set of feathered wings. She arched her back and moved the wings as if she was a bird or an angel. Swirling and twirling she slowed moved her body and her wings. She was in bare feet dancing toward us from the back of the canyon.
I was transfixed because I’ve honestly never seen anything quite like this. It was such an odd time of day in a very remote place. She danced for about two minutes and then stopped. Still processing what had just happened, I quietly asked, “What is your story?”
She shared that she was a street performer and healer and that she has performed as “Angel Bird” all over the world, including Florence, Berlin, and Paris. She described her dance as a celebration of life and freedom. I asked her name and then she asked about our story.
I told her that I had retired about six weeks ago, that we were enjoying a two-week trip together, and that we had just celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. She looked at me intently and then said, “Then we will celebrate your new freedom. You now have the freedom to live, to love, to create, and enjoy your third act.”
Overcome with unexpected emotions, tears came to my eyes. My husband said, “Are you crying?” and I said, “Yes.” Then the angel bird and her photographer started crying. This was a bit much for my husband, he said, “There is too much estrogen here” and started walking to the end of the canyon.
I’m really not exactly sure what happened to me in the canyon with the Angel Bird and her friend, but afterward, I did feel a lightness. I enjoyed the rest of our day as we sat on top of one of the petrified dunes and enjoyed our lunch and looked down at the rugged beauty of Snow Canyon. There is a spiritual aspect to retirement. I’m coming more and more to understand that it is really an opportunity for reinvention. It is a third chance to pursue your dreams, to see new places, to experience new people, and to live freely without any regrets.
Thank you Angel Bird!
Just so that you don’t think I imagined this – here is a link to Elizabeth’s website. https://www.elizabethyochim.com/home-1
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.