Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the Wonders of the World, a long incision into Mother Earth along the Arizona portion of the Colorado River.

Throughout foreign countries it is known by visitors as one of the places that must be seen when touring the United States.
For North Americans it is a mecca, a special place in our land, a mystic region that puts us in touch with the spirit of Anishinabe.

For our family, it was a special place we visited half a dozen times.

The Grand Canyon is Mother Nature’s handiwork at its best, a wall of rock along a huge depression leading down to the river which has, through the ages, cut its way ever deeper into the bowels of the earth. The chasm is 18 miles wide, 277 miles long and a mile deep.

Environmentally friendly developments have brought the focus of the lure of the canyon to its southern rim from where you can watch all day the spectacular kaleidoscope of colour that manifests itself hour by hour.

Some visitors venture down to the bottom of the canyon, but most people stay up on the rim.

The Grand Canyon is a place where you want to communicate with someone the feelings you experience because of the beauty all around. Maybe it’s someone you love; maybe it’s someone new you’re travelling with and beginning to like; maybe it’s your Higher Power. The urge to express your feelings comes from deep within and takes your breath away, especially at dawn as you stand on the rim watching the sun’s first rays of light poke a hole in the pre-dawn dim, or at dusk when it’s the other way around as the dark of night sucks in the sun’s last light.

Many people visit the canyon several times in their lifetime, as we did when the children were growing up. We went on lots of trips, and whenever we drove along US Route 66, we built in extra days to see the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon.

There was always one special thing. One time, we all got up early to watch the sun rise above the distant eastern wall. Our three daughters groaned, but managed.

It was quiet outside and still dark, but slowly light came until all at once a tiny bright spot appeared on the horizon. It poked a hole in the darkness and within minutes opened the sky to another day.

That morning park rangers put on a special event. A beautiful young Navajo girl stood on the rim, her back to the huge yawning chasm behind.

“I want to read an Anishinabe poem for you,” she said. “It’s about morning around the world.”

“On the oceans, ships rise and fall with the waves as Atlantic seafarers finish breakfast and Pacific sailors get up before dawn to swob the decks for cruise folk on board.

“In India shops are already open for business as carts go back and forth along streets in Calcutta.

“In China people are getting ready for bed.

“Times are different around Mother Earth as we stand here, suspended in a space that in 24 hours brings us back from a morning journey around the world,” the Navajo girl said.

We left very early next morning, our three daughters still in pyjamas, sleeping in the back of the station wagon.

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