October 4, 2018

It’s no wonder half the girl’s tennis team in the 626

has asthma.

We run along the 10 freeway every week.

It’s a three-mile loop,

a quarter of which winds us smashed between

the eyesore Five Star Inn

and the whizzing blur of cars. Briefly on our jog,

the pollution is masked

by the dank, onioned air of In-n-Out—a deep-fried moment

which sinks away as we jog on,

eventually slowing our jog to a wheezing, wayward walk.

They call it exercise-...

September 7, 2018

My son: five months old.

My daughter: three years.

I sleep sitting up on the couch,

holding my son in my arms every night

because that’s the only way

my son (and my family) can get any rest,

just as I did with my daughter for one year.

We scrape each month to

live up to our commitment

to save for their college funds.

We do the best we can to

support the development

of their minds, bodies, and spirits

in every way:

My daughter is not allowed...

August 31, 2018

I breathe quite often. In my car, windows rolled down, I suck in air that carries more carbon monoxide than usual. I can almost taste the other air - mountain air. It is lighter, but that is not why I suck in a full ten breaths a minute as soon as I park my car and hike double time to the trailhead. No. I inhale the living, thriving scent of the forest with the greed of a woman who is not sure she will always have this luxury....

July 27, 2018

Round the switchbacks

up to Dooly Knob—

wobbly buffalo below us.

Our quick breath cooling,

we straggled up the last

jagged rock toward the vista.

Beyond the lake, each crystal

of the city burning. Fast

fall of evening. And even

then, a smog-filled distance

turning mauve. Grains of light

quivered severed and awakened.

We looked away. We blinked

downwind. Ash-clouds loomed,

as if erupting. Another fault-

line laced the ether, spilling off


June 19, 2018

From the standpoint of biology, all living creatures need oxygen to exist and continue to create. As a person with a compromising medical condition, asthma, I am acutely aware of changes in air quality and how they affect my everyday activities. I am told to not exercise or even go outside when the Air Quality Index is in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range. This is sometimes impossible; I may need to go to the store fo...

June 8, 2018

Your wife is pregnant, and you’re worried. Ozone levels spike higher and higher. But both of you have good jobs. You can’t just up and leave, moving to a place with healthy air. A friend—sufficiently affluent—spends the winter inversion months in South America. Another moves out of the valley for good.

Most of us who live in Salt Lake City hunker down—agitated, angry, and powerless to make the air fit to breathe unless the legi...

June 5, 2018

We are singing beneath the ochre haze

of smog and sleet and phosphorescence,

trundling up the great hill in the great car,
            the sharp slopes of the Avenues,

keen with anthems made unsweet by us—

arguing music with grayed snow,

sure that we can make it

to our desired elevation,


May 25, 2018

I am a professional skier and outdoor adventurer. I am proud to call Utah home and I love this state for so many reasons: the snow, mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, beautiful red rock, and, most of all, the people who live here. In my job, I encourage people to come here, to visit and experience the natural wonders of our state. Bur our poor air quality is affecting our vibrant tourism and outdoor industries. I’ve been part...

May 21, 2018

In 1991 I relocated the small outdoor equipment company I founded, Black Diamond Equipment, from the coast of southern California to the base of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. I wanted location to reside on the asset side of our balance sheet and to be accretive to my vision of Black Diamond “being one with the sports we serve, absolutely indistinguishable from them.” Salt Lake City with its immediate access to the majestic Wa...

May 14, 2018

A popular '60s expression was “you are what you eat.” True but incomplete. You are what you eat, what you drink, and what you breathe. Don’t think so? Try this: stop eating for three weeks, or stop taking in fluids for three days, or stop breathing for three minutes and your body will make a compelling case for you that life is the process of translating a natural and physical environment into flesh, blood, bone, nerve, and da...

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Torrey House Press

150 State St.

Ste. 100 Ofc. 36

Salt Lake City, UT 84111