SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes it takes a little bit of creativity to show our family and friends how much we love them when we can't see them in person this year due to the pandemic. One Utah woman found a way to send the message loud and clear in nature.
Sheryl McGlochlin is on a mission. "There's so many people who are either sick or can't get up here," she said. "I just wanted to find a way that I could let them know that I love them. I'm thinking about them."
She took me up Millcreek Canyon to show me how it's done. "The snow is like my canvas. I have like a white sheet of paper," she explained.
Her medium of choice?
"I just happen to be really into sponges and so I use sponges," McGlochlin put it. She hauls 84 deceivingly light sponges covered in black garbage bags up the canyon. Then she gets to work.
"I think about my aunt Janet who is in an assisted living center and we can't ever get in and see her, but she looks at Facebook," she said.
So today, she's sending a message to Janet in the snow.
"Yep! I call them love notes in the snow!" McGlochlin said with a huge smile on her face. She hopes to offer an uplifting message in a beautiful nature scene to cheer someone up.
"It could be 'Happy Birthday,' 'Get well,' 'Hope,' 'Joy,' 'Miss you,' 'Love You!'" she suggested.
While it's difficult to hear, Intermountain Healthcare's Dr. Todd Vento is asking extended families to not gather this holiday season. "If we could really look at restricting our gathering with folks outside of our immediate family within our household, those measures will make a big difference," he explained.
Vento says this measure will be vital in preventing more hospitalizations and deaths.
"Every day is critical because each day is a little bit worse than the one before it in terms of number of cases or number of hospitalizations in many parts of the country," he said. "The reality is the numbers are really overwhelming and we can't sustain it."
This is exactly why Sheryl is making the extra effort to make sure people who might be on their own this winter have a smile on their face.
I already feel so happy when I'm out hiking and just walking around in nature, but now that I know I'm coming out to send somebody a love note, it's just kind of an embellished or an amplified happiness that I get!
"And they know that I'm thinking about them!" she said.
When the creation is complete, McGlochlin snaps a photo and either texts it, emails it, or posts it for her loved one to see.
"It has already brought so much happiness to the people that we've sent it out to," she said.
McGlochlin says the recipients aren't the only beneficiaries. "I already feel so happy when I'm out hiking and just walking around in nature, but now that I know I'm coming out to send somebody a love note, it's just kind of an embellished or an amplified happiness that I get!"
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She tells people to wear a bright coat and make sure they are in the picture. "Just find something that's really colorful. That would really pop because this is a black-and-white picture pretty much," she explained.
And don't forget to pose, she reminded me. "People want to see other happy people!" McGlochlin said.
If you don't have sponges on hand, McGlochlin says you can use anything else that is uniform in size and will make a statement. "You could get a bunch of cardboard and color it," she suggested. McGlochlin also adds colored felt on top of the sponges sometimes to give her statements a little pizzazz.