Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grand Canyon or Bust

I leave Madame Tussauds-like ambiance of the Visitor Center deeply perturbed. 


In a state of disbelief.  

The slithery grip of the gospel of comfort and convenience follows after me and squeezes tight around my neck.

On the right, the parking lot where our car and escape from this hell is dancing in the fiery haze. 

The Parking Lot call is always the call of ease. Forget Grand Canyon. Forget adventure and glory and gut. 

The small wooden sign - Mather Point - on the left, points unambiguously in the direction of... uncertainty?!?

In this moment, for me, it's a no-brainer. There is one choice left, and one alone.

I must go and find out for myself. 

No shiny brochures. No Photoshop enhanced photos. No overdone marketing hearsay. No knowledge 'experts' regurgitating what they pecked out of books and manuals.  

Not even an IMAX movie inside a state-of-the-art air-conditioned theater will suffice now. 

I can't put it off anymore. 

True or false, live or die, I must meet the Grand Canyon face to face. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

When Hell Freezes Over

A blast of arctic air gushing through the door of the Visitor Center was welcome contrast to the incinerating heat of the parking lot.  We yielded to its icy embrace, feeling instantly energized along with a substantial throng of other visitors who milled around chatting with the uniformed attendants and checking out the exhibits.

All around were pictures of the Canyon. 

Interactive maps of the Canyon.  

Brochures about the Canyon.  

Classes  and courses about the Canyon. 

Certification training for the aspiring Canyon guides.

Everywhere you look. 




You can spend an entire day inside this air-conditioned heaven, thinking you were at the Grand Canyon without ever seeing the real thing!

Several times we were politely encouraged to view a movie about Grand Canyon in the state of the art (of course, also air-conditioned!) theater. We noticed a long line already forming in front of the entrance.

At first, I thought I heard it wrong.  I thought it was a replay of the argument we just had with our two teenagers in the car on the way to the park.

But then we heard it again. And again.

The much-too polite, much-too smiling attendants strongly suggested that we step into the line. 

I didn’t hear it wrong. I heard it right. Still inside my head, I simply couldn’t reconcile…

Why in the world would anybody want to watch a movie about Grand Canyon when you can simply step outside and see the real thing???

I know it's not an excuse, but I can (somewhat) understand the ignorance and inertia of my children. It still drives me crazy, but I can understand.

But this...? 

This - I simply couldn’t fathom. I couldn't comprehend that the same temptation would come my way AGAIN, right here, when the destination is practically at our fingertips, and that from no other than the attendants of the Grand Canyon himself!

I grabbed my husband by the hand, sinking my fingernails deep into his skin and said,

We got to get out of here!, and darted towards the door.

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Deafening Silence

Shredded by the gut-churning uncertainty we trudged along resembling more the inmates on death row than enthusiastic nature-lovers about to have their socks blown off at the sight of overwhelming glory. 

Interestingly enough, the only person who could have alleviated our fears with a word, the only person who’d already had the privilege of  meeting GC face to face - not once, but twice! - chose to remain silent.

At the time I begrudged it. I desperately wanted him to speak up, to assure us, to inspire us and float us on the wings of that inspiration all the way to the Matter Point where I can finally see it for myself.

I wanted him to dispel all our fears with one word. Even one-syllable word would be enough for me.

But he remained as silent as those rocks. Not a single stinking word.

It was only in retrospect that I understood why he refrained.  

Why it was not just O.K. but actually better to stay quiet...

Why it was not necessary for him to speak up, trying to persuade us on Grand Canyon’s behalf. 

But, at the time I simply couldn't either comprehend or accept his deafening silence.