Grand Canyon

It could have been a stormy night on the bow of a ship. Grey storm clouds, fast moving shadows overhead, dampened the starlight. There was no moon. The nearest city, eighty miles to the south could not spoil the blackness with light. With only a small flashlight I trod carefully toward the rim of the Grand Canyon at Mathas Point.

The edge of the main promontory is encircled by a protective, split rail, metal barrier. The rail of a ship. I stood on the bow and looked into the darkness. My eyes had not yet fully adjusted; they are used to the bright light of day, the incandescent light of night. As my sensitivity to the light within the darkness increased I could detect Phantom ranch, thousands of feet below, where a bulb or campfire burned. It shone like the tiny glow of a bioluminescent organism excited to radiance by the ship's bow wave, deep in the abyss before me.

Over the cliff and into the void the cool breeze spilled. A waterfall of wind, displaced the warm air below, poured endlessly into the depth. I clutched the rail and stared out into the abyss. I tried to discern other lights, other sounds, other souls in the night. There was darkness, silence, solitude. There was an abundance of absence.

I stood facing the canyon, the wind was at my back, coaxing me onward. Were the sails set, the ship would be making good time on a quartering sea. I was alert, alive, on watch, looking for clues in the night. With the dry breath of the canyon pouring over me, I felt the peace of the sea, and the abyss of infinite depth in the mind of the passenger. The canyon made me a passenger. I flowed with the river that began ages ago as a small stream on a flat plain. I rode through the generations as the work carved deeper, and saw the layers of time emerge on the wall, in my mind. Red rock of day, invisible before me.Water has worn the stone.

While deep in thought and fully absorbing the spirit of the place, my imagination called me over the rail and into the abyss. Before me there was only darkness and my love for this magic moment. I was drawn to join forever with the moment, but my hands clasped tightly as my survival instinct overrode the flight of fantasy. Virtigo, drawing me into the depth and the canyon, where I would be absorbed like a falling leaf, recycled into the earth without so much as a murmur.

The solid land before me washed away. I drew the cascading wind deeply into my lungs. There was only reverence and awe for this superior force and it whispered into my ears the words of the ages.

Created: Summer 1994

Revised: Friday, November 14, 1997