I know that someday you'll find better things.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Big Dig

Remember trips to the beach when you were little? You'd kneel in the sand and dig and dig.

Sometimes with official tools, colorful and plastic.
Sometimes with improvised ones.
Sometimes with your bare hands.

You'd dig and dig, and that hole would grow. It was going to be the deepest one. You were finally going to get to China, just like your parents had said.

You'd pause to brush away a wayward strand of hair or maybe to blink away the sunscreen or sand at the edge of your eyes.

In that tiny moment of absence, your hole became a pool.
Then a pond.
Now a lake.

One moment it was empty; the next, it was full.
Water rising, and with it-- mystery.

That's how it is with the Grand Canyon-- a hole so big they say it can be seen from space.

No amount of calendar pictures could ever do that place justice.

When we arrived, the first thing I did was take one giant step backward. Something that big makes you feel very small. Fragile. Leaf-like. It seemed as if one stiff breeze could lift us up and blow us in.

Vast though it may be, the Grand Canyon is not an expanse of emptiness.
There's magic in there.

Ask the Havasupai, who've made it their home for over eight centuries. Their entire culture and community exists in there.

Whole lives and lifetimes are being lived at this very moment, deep inside something that looks so vacant.

Nothing is ever quite as empty as it seems.
Remember that the next time you feel hollow.

Canyon Magic:
How can two miles feel like ten?
How did that tree grow with so little light and water?
Who placed those pebbles in those crevices? One person? Many people?

Yes, that's a toilet with a view.
No, we weren't the only ones in the canyon.
Eventually you get used to it.

The eleven miles down the canyon to the Havasu reservation? Totally worth it.
The eleven miles back up and out? TORTURE.

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