“If you’re ever thinking ‘Oh but I’m a waste of space and I’m a burden’, remember: that also describes the Grand Canyon.” ~ Unknown
Out of nowhere the ground opens up out in front of us, forming a giant chasm that is The Grand Canyon.
It’s beautiful, breathtaking and, well, grand.
As the early morning sunlight streams across the sky, highlighting the colors in the cliffs across from us, I lose words.
It’s not often I am at a loss for words. I futilely try to find one to do it justice but everything I mumble seems inadequate.
It’s yet another old, ancient place of the Earth, like Arches National Park which I wrote about in my first segment of this series of tributes to nature. As I mentioned in that article, I’ve traveled around the world a fair bit, taking in many of our manmade wonders. I have been awed by many of them, but not like this. This speaks to my spirit, and my connection to the past, present and future.
I feel as though I could put all of the cathedrals, monuments and ruins I have laid eyes on inside this magnificent place, and it would just swallow them up with its beauty and awesomeness.
Native Americans have inhabited the plains of this region for thousands of years. The Pueblo people considered the canyon a holy site, and standing on the viewing platform looking into the mile deep chasm, I can see why. This is a peaceful place, and when we are open to our true natures and one with the Earth, we can feel that within ourselves.
Walking up I can only imagine how it must have been so long ago, to come across this grand sight, unbeknownst to the travelers of the early days. Then—there it is. It just forces us to consider time outside of the present. We get so caught up in our lives at any given moment, so consumed with our moments, and this place makes us stop and see the big picture of time.
As grand as the photos—grander, even.
Looking upon the layers of different rock sediments, a geologic timeline of the Earth’s life, we soak in the age of our planet. Two billion years of geologic history have been revealed by the river cutting through.
Looking down, way down, my eyes find the muddy, meandering Colorado River cutting through the canyon floor. From this distance it seems to meander, but in truth its rushing waters are the powerhouse that has steadily cut away at this rock for millions of years, forming this grand wonder.
There is something comforting about that muddy water down below, charting its course through the rock. I feel it whisper, “No matter what, I will still be here.” It speaks to my human need for permanence, which is an illusion we create. Even though the river itself changes through the years, it will continue its journey, cutting through the canyon for years to come.
Geologists say that the river chose its course some 17 million years ago. 17 million years?! Our lives are but a blip in the scheme of things.
We can really learn something from the nature of water. It’s patient. It flows. It works away at obstacles slowly, slowly over time, flowing around them, and eventually wearing even the most solid obstacle down. Water never gives up. It finds a way. Because it is fluid and flexible it wins, even over rocks.
This place shows me that nature will always prevail. The forces that rule our Earth will always live on, even if they need to drive humans out. Like the river cutting through this place, Earth will find a way.
Finding a place to sit quietly, we soak in the energy here. It’s the energies of Earth and the ancient people of the plains alike. I breathe it in and it makes me understand that they had it right—the way that they worshipped the Earth and its spirits as our life force.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Author’s own