The names here lack subtlety as well. “Zion,” “The Watchman,” “Mount Majestic,” “Abraham Peak,” “Isaac Peak,” “Jacob Peak,” “Weeping Rock,” “Cathedral Mountain,” and “The Pulpit,” to name just a few. What this place is supposed to evoke is not left up to the imagination. Park visitors – those who are believers in one of the religions that are intertwined with the biblical texts – come here knowing what they will find. Their awe and godly inspiration are predetermined.
As a non-believer these names have an alienating effect on me - make me wonder if I should be here. The feeling is not dissimilar to the few times I have been in a church since losing my religion at a young age. I did not expect to feel this when I was proposing and planning my stay in Zion. I thought such names would stay in my periphery and only figure in as a cheeky juxtaposition to the chaos of my landscape drawings. I am an American non-believer after all, I have to put up with references to god at every turn of my civic life, I should be used to it. But here at Zion I feel like a rat in a maze, trying to find my way out of this religiosity. The dichotomy here is hard to skirt. I have no choice but to confront it.After a few days of trying to draw these blunt, attention-grabbing mountains, I have shifted my focus. Instead looking where all of the arrows and signs are pointing me, instead of looking at what is named, I am looking where the deer and fox are pointing me. I am using their trails, trying to see what they see. I imagine they have their own names for things here that might make a lot more sense to me than the biblically derived ones.