Saturday, October 26, 2013

It becomes so difficult to see a place with fresh eyes; even when you’ve only been there for a few days. Some observations are only made after careful inspection of a place or object over the course of months or even years. But every once in a while submerged in that flood of information that confronts you in the face of an entirely alien place you grab at one shimmering piece just to have something to hold onto and you find that you’ve fished out something marvelous. You’ll run your eyes over that object many times afterward, but you’ll never be able to spot that shimmer again in the almost subconscious way that you did the first time you entered the place.
I walked along the north rim of the grand canyon, down the first trail that I found. Through breaks in the trees I saw the sun shooting down to the inner gorge through the haze in great shafts. I passed a rock that seemed like the right place to sit and watch the sunset and for two hours I sat as the canyon and I sank into the umbra.
Looking out at the vast canyon the other rim looks so far away that it seems like the sun should be hovering in the air somewhere in the middle. I expect the walls of the south rim to be illuminated the same as the walls of the north and for it to be high noon somewhere in the middle down by the river. I forget that the sun is millions of miles away because that other rim looks so much farther. Above the south rim the haze transforms the sandy hills into clouds atop which the peaks of the San Francisco range sit; not a part of the earth.
The buttes in the distance become islands in a black sea as the sunlight abandons their lower slopes. The fins that divide the branching canyon seem to be marching in line down into the inner gorge to be consumed by the Colorado. When the last bit of light leaps off from the last stone on the top of the tallest butte, the sun drops below the horizon and the sky blushes, the rust red of the rocks soaks it all in and they glow.

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