I have been working at my present job for over two years. Every day, since October 2002, I have driven past the two oil refineries in North Salt Lake. They sit on the west side of I-15 and the activist inside of me thinks, “They are polluting my city.” I watch the billowing smoke and the dramatic flames jumping from the towers and the hippie in me shakes her head.
The thing is, those parts of me don’t win out. The logician in me thinks, “Sure glad they’re around so that I can drive my Beetle to work every day.” The husband of a friend of mine works at one of those refineries and almost lost his life there. I’m grateful for those hardworking individuals at the refineries.
The artist inside of me looks that the billowing smoke and dramatic flames and thinks, “Sweet Jesus, that’s purty.” My artist has a southern accent. She is a 350 pound black woman who sings like Nell Carter, paints like Rothko and writes like no one else on the planet. She loves the oil refineries. When they are silhouetted by the sunset, she wants to sing. She doesn’t know any love songs dedicated to oil refineries, so she usually just sings whatever is on her mind or MP3 player.
Somehow, the activist and hippie are subjugated by my logician and artist. The oil refineries are one of the two major milestones of my drive home, the other being the beer billboard I pass every day. Once a huge swarm of starlings kept circling one of the refineries. I almost ran the Beetle off the road watching them fly around and through and over the towers and machinery.
I’m never stuck in traffic when I’m driving past the refineries, so I don’t get to just sit and enjoy the grandeur. My attention is always divided, focusing primarily on the road. I don’t know how I would get a picture of the beauty that I see every day to share it with you. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you, “Sweet Jesus, it’s purty.”