Two weeks ago I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time in my life, with the whole family. We took hundreds of photos and loved the whole experience. But I'm still trying to write about the experience of being there. Here's a start, expanded from my journal on September 16, 2011.
“Lofty mountain grandeur,” the old hymn sings . And my soul sings these words, or something beyond them, in this place. Standing and gazing on nature’s morning painting, we watch clouds and light change moment to moment, mountain to mountain., shifting the hues of standstone-red, juniper green, grey-white granite, deep gray schist, black basalt, all shaped and stacked with symmetry, as if by human hands, but really, by eons of natural force. No human hands. All of this was here long before there were human beings to breathe this air, to see and name this beauty. Yet we are here now, for this brief time, seeing, receiving, trying to name. I stand here, speechless, wordless, with my husband, my grown children - rooted in the love that holds us in this life, smelling juniper and sagebrush, waiting as the morning clouds, socked in below across the canyon, lift their veil and let us see what we are here to see -- depth and height, color in rock and stone, deep cliff and canyon wall. Extending vast, below us, farther than we can see. Between deep cliffs, we glimpse the Colorado, the river that has carved all this through eons and milenia, winding far, far below us. All unnameable and real and here, shaped out of earth, the earth beneath our feet, opening out. I am here, with those I love most in the world, here on the edge of the canyon, as the clouds lift into early morning sun, and the view expands. No words.