Photo by Anna Zumwalt

Beauty at Warm Springs – Global Earth Exchange 2018

Join the worldwide movement! 

Radical Joy for Hard Times is a worldwide community of people dedicated to bringing meaning, beauty, and value to places that have been damaged by human or natural acts.

Global Earth Exchanges are experiential gatherings to visit wounded places in nature, get to know them as they are now, share our stories of what they mean to us, and make a simple, spontaneous work of art from materials found on site. As we share this experience of finding and making beauty in wounded places, we discover how we are connected in the deep common ground beneath our hearts.

Wilderness Rites of Passage Guide, Kinde Nebeker has been hosting these gatherings since 2010 and this year Warm Springs called to her. 

Warm Springs is the last recoverable hot springs in Salt Lake City (there used to be many). Recognized as a sacred place, it was used by indigenous people since before recorded history, then Mormon settlers. The mineral hot spring has been closed to the public since the 1970’s and is now bordered by busy roads and a refinery. It was recently threatened by a large residential development, but because of community activism, the city of Salt Lake is no longer considering that proposal.

A community of people (Warm Springs Alliance) have organized to keep the spirit of this place whole — offering alternative solutions that are inclusive and in coherence with the land as a special place.

Join us, and people all over the world participating in Global Earth Exchanges, as we attend to, listen to and create beauty at Warm Springs.

Here’s what we’ll do.

  1. Go to Warm Springs.
  2. Sit awhile and share stories about what the place means to us.
  3. Quietly walk around in solitude to know the place as it is now.
  4. Gather and share what we discover.
  5. Make a simple gift of beauty of materials the place itself provides.
  6. Take some photos of the place, our group, our gift.
  7. Then we’ll share these with the Global Earth Exchange website.

THIS EVENT IS FREE and all are welcome!

Sunday, June 17th, 2018
Warm Springs Park
840 N Beck St (300 W), SLC, UT 84103
**We’ll gather at the north end of the park by the large, historic building.

More about Kinde
More about the Warm Springs Alliance

Here’s what happened:

Six of us gathered in Warm Springs Park at the north end of Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 17th to participate in the Global Earth Exchange. Warm Springs is a natural hot springs whose waters come from the mountains and after diving deep, deep into the earth where they are heated up, they rise to the surface in the fault where the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains meet the flat bed of the Great Salt Lake.

These hot springs were visited and used by indigenous people, and then the early Mormon settlers who eventually built a municipal pool and piped the healing waters to the local hospital. Now this small area is bordered by big roads, adjacent to a petroleum refinery. The municipal pool building sits empty and a small park is used by the homeless and dog walking neighbors.

And the hot water still flows.

Two citizens have taken up the cause of this place, envisioning a gathering place for the community — a healing place where everyone is welcome and differences can sit side by side. They have stirred the imagination of many, and recently were able to organize community opposition to a large housing development. On this Sunday, we gathered under a tree near the abandoned building.

David and Sylvia, the citizen activists, spoke of the history and geography of the place. We then each spoke about why we were there and what Warm Springs meant to us. Then we all went on a solo walk around the small area, in our six-year-old selves, to listen to what the land and our hearts had to say. And returned to tell our stories.

David, the man of brilliant brain who said he couldn’t get out of his thinking mind, took off his shoes and walked on the many different surfaces — concrete, cut grass, wild and prickly places, and the warm water — determined to feel it all.

Sylvia was filled with the freedom and joy of connecting more deeply to this place she knew so well, in this particular container of a small group walking with intention. She was drawn to the grate where the hot water drains back down into the earth, feeling nourished as it cascaded down to who knows where.

Brenda found an abandoned shopping cart in the weeds and thought about wounds and that she doesn’t see this place as wounded, but as a place at this time, OK with it just as it is.

Amy walked up high to the road that goes about this area, to see the overall lay of the land and how everything connects. Victoria found treasures: a snail shell, a black and white rock that looked like a butterfly.

Great wisdom was shared as well, about what it all means to be human in a constantly shifting, dying, re-birthing and changing cosmos. We felt each other, and our kinship — strangers who became compatriots on a Sunday morning in June.

Kinde Nebeker