Last weekend I had the chance to attend this yearâ€™s regional Sunstone Symposium in Kirtland. I initially had not planned to attend, but after I published three cartoons in the recent issue of Sunstone, the director of the symposium invited me to give a presentation on The Garden of Enid. I gladly accepted.
Kirtland is four hours northeast of my home. Travelling with limited funds, I left at 4:30 in the morning and drove non-stop to the Stannard Stone Quarry in Chapin Forest Reservation, where the early Saints quarried stone for the temple, just two miles south of Kirtland. I had an hour to wait before the symposium, so I grabbed my camera and took a mile-long trail throughÂ the forest, hoping to see something neatâ€”like a rock formation. The trail was all trees and moss, however, until I found the quarry itself in a creek a few muddy steps off the beaten path. A few years back, the Church and the local government had put up signage and built a wooden walkway over the creekâ€”perhaps to prevent visitors from climbing down into the creek itself, as I was doing, to get a better view of the chisel marks in the algae-covered stone.
After snapping more pictures than Iâ€™ll ever need of the quarry, I hiked back to my car and drove to the Community of Christâ€™s Kirtland Temple Visitorâ€™s Center, the conference venue, where I picked up my name tag and pocketed a few free copies of Sunstone and an old collection of Mormon cartoons by Calvin Grondahl. From there I headed to the main classroom to wait for the conference keynote address to begin and feel guilty about not making better small talk with strangers.