Pink Beaches in Utah

As I stood on the bank of the large lake just 35 minutes from my house; I gazed out at the pristine waters that spread from east to west. The barren brown mountain to the north was a stark contrast to the bluish Oquirrh mountains beyond the sparkling water.

I walked toward the water, expecting to feel squishy sand on the beach. Instead, I felt the hardened salt crystals stand their ground under the weight of my sandals. The only sound to be heard was the crunching of the salty “ice” under our feet.

The breeze was salty too, as if to not be left out. The crisp fall air that I had distinctly felt the last few days was noticeably gone- likely retreating back to its summer hibernation and graciously allowing the hot summer sun to have one more day of service.

My husband and I were on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere- according to

The pink water on this particular side, are due to the millions of brine shrimp which are {tiny} aquatic creatures called brine shrimp, they eat algae instead of grass, and there are about 17 trillion of them”.

Atlas Obscura
"The brine shrimp are grazing crustaceans, surviving on a diet of algae that grows in Utah’s Great Salt Lake. They reproduce by laying hardy eggs called cysts, which survive over the winter and hatch each spring to restart the population. Brine shrimp cysts have been harvested there for decades—it’s a $67 million-a-year industry that supplies food for fish farms around the world—and since 1992...."-Atlas Obscura
Photo Credit

The brine shrimp bring back a fond memory from my childhood. Remember the sea monkeys ads?

Our pink shrimp adventure was one of many weekend jaunts we took in the beautiful mountains and deserts surrounding our city and state. But this one was different.

This time, I didn’t have to force myself to not think of my son.

I didn’t have to wonder if he survived the night. I didn’t have to wonder if he was in Vegas getting shot at.

I didn’t have to wonder if this mountain, or desert, or landmark would be the one where they call me to tell me my son passed away.

Although no days are promised to any of us, this time, I knew my son was relatively safe.

This time, after a series of miracles, my son was inside a rehab, (hopefully) starting his final journey of recovery.

It’s been almost 2 years since he entered his first and only rehab. He went out of state after a family intervention, just like you see on TV. He did ok there, despite it being a bit scammy. He made it 72 days clean.

The last 2 years have left me and those close to him, swimming in darkness as we struggled to understand the terrifying grip this disease has on him. But just like the brine shrimp above-their brine eggs remain viable in dry conditions for several years- because of desiccation tolerance; my son was being preserved in his “drought”.

"Desiccation tolerance refers to the ability of an organism to withstand or endure extreme dryness, or drought-like conditions. This means that physiological or behavioral adaptations to withstand these periods are necessary to ensure survival". source

Oh how my heart would weep at what conditions my sons life was in, at his little kids’ left behind and in the real possibilities of harm or loss of his freedom that awaited. I would weep in joy at others’s successes, then turn to sorrow that my son & our family was still struggling.

Little did I know that like the brine shrimp eggs in drought, or in their normal cold winter; those seeds of hope and love were being nourished in my son in the form of faith that he could pull through his “drought” period.

Yesterday, after not seeing my beautiful boy for 16 months-my husband and I embarked on another adventure- a midnight trek- driving 800 miles that ended in the sheer joy of watching my son walk willingly into a rehab and say: Thank you.

I know that nothing is promised. Many would say that this doesn’t mean anything. Addicts go through rehabs like Cars in McDonald’s drive-through. But my son is very rehab-resistant (for that very reason) and his rock bottom is as deep as the sea. He acclimates to every new level of condition that this life style has thrown at him. So to see the willingness of him to go through the door of the rehab, makes this mama’s heart soar.

May we all find joy in the present. In the beauty of now. Whatever droughts we have been through to whatever the future holds; may we offer Seeds of Hope and Love to all those around us.

I hope you enjoy my pictures.

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Samantha Waters

A unique perspective on the world from a small town girl turned big city nurse. Now a grandmother to 6 gregarious, resplendent boys and 5 endearing, magical girls, she strives the make the world a more understanding, pleasant place to experience this intense thing called life.

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