The Grand Canyon at sunrise is God’s private playground. The colors are unnameable. The light is bewitching. The vistas will break your heart.
My wife and I have visited the Big Ditch several times over the years and it never gets old. We visited after her father’s funeral. We visited on her 40th birthday. We visited after I got fired because my previous boss had short man’s syndrome.
Yes, I realize that Grand Canyon National Park has been commercialized to the point of being gaudy. Yes, this park is visited by 5.9 million annual tourists, all of whom are currently in the gift shop with screaming toddlers.
No, the restaurants aren’t anything special. In fact, the food sucks. And yes, sometimes you encounter annoying tourists, such as loud-talking guys from Arkansas who flick cigarette butts into the gorge and threaten to jump off the edge to impress their girlfriends. Which, let’s be honest, at this stage would be fine with the girlfriends.
Even so. The place has a strange spell over me.
When I was
in fifth grade, my old man took me to the Canyon on a camping trip. One sunset he stood at the precipice and was so overawed by the unending beauty that he removed his hat and threw it like a Frisbee into the vast gully.
We watched the hat sail downward.
“Why’d you do that?” I asked.
He shook his head, but his face was bone solemn. “No reason.”
Beauty will do that to a man.
He died nearly a year later. I think about that hat every time we visit.
Our last vacation to the Canyon was a few years ago, my wife and I needed a getaway. We stayed in a rundown cabin, and ate cheap tourist food until our digestive tracts turned to stone. We went for many walks and watched lots of sunsets.
It had been a hard year. My wife…