Blinking in the Grand Canyon

View from the South Rim

A visit to the Grand Canyon in early spring is a reminder of the big picture of life, and that perhaps all our worries are small and we can spend too much time dwelling on them. I contemplated this as I looked out from an elevation of 7,000 feet into the vastness of the Grand Canyon, breathing in the cool spring air, as a light breeze gently blew my hair into my eyes.

We arrived close to sunset, after a long eight-hour drive. We watched as the Grand Canyon transformed itself into a kaleidoscope of colors. The golden reddish light lingered upon the highest plateaus of the canyon as its depths disappeared into the darkness of the night. We were then treated to the darkest of skies and to thousands of the brightest stars.­­

As the next day’s dawn began to brighten the day, we took a drive around the canyon’s south rim. We stopped along the way and walked out onto the various precarious vantage points, all with breathtaking views and sheer drops of thousands of feet into the canyon. At times I was a little concerned that my son’s wheelchair was too close to the edge or that my other two were leaning too casually against the railings, especially since it was quite windy.

The first time I visited the Grand Canyon was over 30 years ago. Nothing had really changed. For a moment, time really had stood still. I remembered sitting on a ledge at a lookout point and I began to search for that exact spot, in the hope of taking me back to that time.

I was reminded of the awe I felt seeing the canyon for the first time and making sense of its creation and existence. As I looked around I saw families, couples, hikers and people from all over the world just sitting and absorbing the view.

We continued along the path to Mohave Point. It was here that we glanced down and saw for the first time, the azure colored Colorado River, meandering far below on the canyon floor.

It was difficult to comprehend the fact that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago and continues to carve and form the canyon.

But it was easy to notice and reflect upon how small we are and our feats somewhat insignificant compared to what the river has been creating.

As I watched the river, I thought about the flow of time. I was here as a teenager, and now years later I am here with my own family. One day it will be my children’s children who will be standing upon this very lookout point.

I thought about the river as a teacher about life, the way it meanders softly along downstream; with ease it flows freely around obstacles in its path; peacefully and patiently, as if just focused on being. The river isn’t dragged down by the hardships of life, it just goes with the flow, on and on, like it has for 17 million years.

Our trip to the Grand Canyon was a short one, but our memories will be forever. We said goodbye to the Grand Canyon by blinking in a certain view and sealing it into our memory.

As I held my daughter’s hand, I shared with her that the river is a good example of how to be in life. After all, we are all creating and carving out our own canyons, our lives. And we are the river that runs through it all.

The Colorado River

1 comment:

  1. A deeply insightful and well written article, Cath. Thank you.