Grand, Grander, Grandest
When Kathy said she had never seen the Grand Canyon, we three college friends knew we had to include this extraordinary place in our whirlwind road trip. I know, I know. In many ways, the “in-person” Grand Canyon doesn’t quite compare to the many postcards available at the gift shop or the coffee table books full of first class photography gathering dust. I agree, those professional photos are far better than what we could actually see on a blustery, hazy day.
And yet, there is something that happened in my heart as I stood on the south rim. Framed by bare limbs and pine trees, the ribbons of rock spoke—history, geology, eternity. A part of me wished I could simply sit down and contemplate the view, but we kept moving and walking and snapping quick pix. They would never tell the true story.
Later, after dinner, we squeezed in a 45 minute IMAX movie called Grand Canyon: Rivers of Time, just newly out in 2022. Fabulous. My heart soared as I watched the movie and realized it was a little like the feeling I had, standing alone at Lookout Studio. God is in this place.
Embarrassed By My Unknowing
This morning I woke early, what with the time change from Eastern Standard Time to Mountain Time. I thought it would be a good time to review our day yesterday and look forward to the adventures of today. Our next door motel guests must also be from out east as they have been up long before me, the one whistling while taking a shower.
The motel is hysterical, the Canyon 66 “Ramada Wyndham” with its array of movie star murals and “Get Your Kicks from Route 66”. That’s right, we’ve landed for the night in Kingman, Arizona after a quick visit to the Hoover Dam. I’m guessing this is an old motel that was bought out by the Ramada people, but the only things that speak Ramada are the paper coffee cups and packets of whitener in the bathroom.
This is my second visit to Hoover Dam, the first being over 40 years ago. Since then, the Bureau of Reclamation has done a pretty nice job in the Visitors’ Center with historic displays and a 10-minute movie that highlights the accomplishments but skirts the water issues of the day. Along the rock walls of the Lake Mead side, we can see the once highwater mark from 1983, but today, the guide confessed, the lake is at its lowest point since the building of the dam in 1936. That’s sobering. But the tour through the turbines and the tunnels was fascinating and awe-inspiring. I recommend everyone take the time to visit.
But my lack of knowledge abounds as I look at the desert landscape. I ask my Southwest friends to forgive me for dullness of mind that became apparent when I tried to google the name of the lovely little purple and yellow flowers blooming along the side of the road (Highway 93). I thought it was an easy search only to discover that a myriad of yellow and purple flowers bloom in the desert. Duh! More than likely, the purple ones are Sand Verbena, but the yellow could be Desert Dandelions or Desert Marigold or Brittlebush.
I have no understanding or appreciation of the desert and really, I need to change that. I doubt this trip will do much more than make a dent into my blank slate. Naturally, I’ll take some pictures and do more investigating when I get home, but one thing I can do is really look. It’s hard on a road trip to make a lot of stops, otherwise, we won’t make the next point on the map. I make this small promise to myself, when we do stop, I’ll look in the distance, of course, but I’ll also look down, near my feet and perhaps a few wonders will be revealed.