Friday, October 17, 2008

Grand Canyon

I'm so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, so this post is going to be short and isn't even going to begin to do justice to today's events.

I spent the day at Grand Canyon National Park. The size of the Grand Canyon beggars description. So does its beauty.

Taking a badly composed photograph of it may be well nigh impossible, but no photograph can ever do it justice. I tried nonetheless; I took over 200 pictures today.

Throughout the day, the Grand Canyon forced me to ponder the smallness of human existence and human concerns. We spend our lives consumed by our passions, our hatreds, and our desires, all of which amount to nothing in the larger scheme of things. The canyon was formed long before walked this earth, and it may continue to exist long after humans have ceased to walk the face of the earth.

Strange as it may seem, I find this realization both instructive and comforting. Personally and professionally, 2008 has been chaotic and difficult, and I've had a really hard time letting go of my rage at and resentment of some of the things that have happened this year. Now that I've been confronted with the fact of my own insignificance and the insignificance of my concerns, I'm starting to feel a rather blissful sense of detachment from it all.

I also feel still. The sheer size and the staggering beauty of the Grand Canyon simply force people to be quiet at times. There were a lot of other tourists running around the park today, and there was plenty of laughter, joking, parents reprimanding children, etc. However, while walking the Rim Trail today, I noticed several times that other people who were walking the trail together would go around a bend in the trail and stop talking in mid-sentence -- the vistas before them simply shut them up. I walked alone, allowing my mind to wander as I navigated the trail, and found that the views stopped me in mid-thought. I quit thinking and just experienced what was before me. I seem to have carried that stillness with me, and I hope to keep it with me in the days that come.

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