Beauty is before me. Beauty is behind me. Above and below me hovers the beautiful. I am surrounded by it. I am immersed in it. In my youth I am aware of it. And in old age I shall walk quietly the beautiful trail ~ Navajo
One of the most iconic places in the United States. Well, there is also New York, but New York is overrated (fairly, Boston is so much nicer). Maybe even one of the most iconic places on Earth, definitely its natural wonder. The Grand Canyon. When planning your trip, do not skip the Yavapai Point at the South Rim, Grandview Point, and the Desert View Drive. The whole canyon is spectacular, with its ever-shifting light patterns, colorful layers of rocks that encode 2 billion years of Earth’s history, cleanest air, shadow theater of the clouds, and circling crows, but these three mentioned above were my personal highlights. Most of the park is maintained as wilderness, so please be respectful and careful on the roads and trails.
The mountains, I become a part of it… The morning mist, the clouds, the gathering waters, I become a part of it ~ Navajo
Driving through Nevada and Arizona after an evening flight to Las Vegas, we arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park’s Visitor Center early in the morning. It was cold and windy there. Two silent deer greeted us at the entrance. Then more deer came, announcing gracefully the 277 miles of Beauty that is a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide, and awaits our visit. We didn’t believe them. We were not prepared for what was being revealed to us, and what was about to unfold. We haven't realized yet that Grand Canyon is far different from anything than you could ever imagine. Seeing it in a movie or looking at the photograph does not compare at all to the experience of standing in front of its grandeur. The Grand Canyon that we saw was much more grand, spectacular, and mysterious. For Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Dine, and for other Native American tribes it has been a sacred place for centuries. The waters of Colorado River that carved the canyon 6 million years ago are viewed by them as the lifelines of Mother Earth. A lot of Indigenous Peoples’ deities live there, and a lot of ceremonies were and still are conducted there. The Grand Canyon is actually a holy place. An unbelievable unearthly cathedral. We felt that.
Be still and the earth will speak to you ~ Navajo
Life is here and now. If we don’t feel that, it is only because we are elsewhere: in endless chatter of the mind, in our non-existing future, in our played over and over past. Dead thoughts and repetitive emotions, huge appetites of the body, they cover our sense of life with thick rust. To escape our rusty lives, we travel. We meditate. We fall in love and build our lives together. We make new friends with animals, with humans, and with plants. We go outside ourselves and silently ask Nature for help, not even knowing that we do that, and why.
But we should be able to look at Grand Canyon as it is and not as a comment to our lives. There, in front of this incredible cathedral of time and space, our lives would feel exactly as important as they are: not very much. Too bad that Grand Canyon cannot see itself. It would be in awe.
So we were tired and still when we arrived at the grounds of South Rim.
And the Earth spoke.
She didn’t complain. She didn’t tell us how much we have hurt her, how much we exploited her, how much we have wounded her, and not listened to her. Instead, she told us that she is happy that we came. That she’s been always waiting for us because we are not from the Earth, we are of the Earth. We are a small, but indispensable part of her, like tigers, dolphins, pine trees, and the bees. She told us that she doesn’t mind us to be there longer with her. Actually, if we knew what to do, we would be very helpful. The cells know what to do to keep the organism alive. She said she will always help us to feel inspired and renewed, and alive. “This is us”, she said. “Yes, you too. This vastness, this ancient world”.
We felt humbled. We felt renewed.
Or perhaps it was just a dream about somebody else speaking and listening to the Earth. I believe that one day, if I will be quiet enough, it may happen to me.
We do not walk alone. Great Being walks beside us. Know this and be grateful. ~ Hopi
The Grand Canyon teaches us about the resilience, nourishment, geologic history of self-maintenance, and about incredible beginnings of people’s lives here. They were Native peoples, and they are still here today. Let’s be mindful of that when we’re walking in their Beauty paths.
Meanwhile, go where you feel the most alive.
I never underestimate an opportunity and a joy of visiting new places. Gratitude comes naturally, and taking an image truly reveals how rich our reality is.