Vacation is important. They tell you that but you forget. You forget until you’re gratefully clutching a cup of
instant coffee, standing there with numb toes, in awe as the sunrise paints the Grand Canyon with the
stupid-beautiful strata of colors. The blues and purples of the predawn drip down the steep canyon sides all the way into the Colorado River. My poor camera skills capture something, but not quite “it”. Certainly, one must be much better than I to put that magic onto digital film.
I turned 27 in October and I panicked. One of the irrelevant, yet overwhelming thoughts that bounced around in my head during the panic was “I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon” and that idea was insufferable. So I decided to change that.
Very little was planned, except flights, a rental car and a campsite. It was meant to be a solo trip. But I got
lucky; my homegirl-Chicagoan-DevOpser-teammate-crunchyGranolaSoccerPlayingHippieMountainGirl-friend found herself with a bit of a Life Shake-Up. Indeed, it shook her into deciding to join my misguided adventure to see a massive crevice in the ground during a rather cold part of the year in that corner of the world.
I was reading On the Road and The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test; My brain was in a hippie-dippie way. Nature was my freak and the only people for me were/are the mad ones. Even though Jack Kerouac was an irresponsible man who couldn’t take care of his body or save a dime, something about his words pluck at the strings in my heart. Theo(dora) and I met up in the Vegas airport and hit the road.
Our playlist full of classic American rock & roll crooned. The Hoover dam flew by. We gaped. The desert scrub and
the tiny smatterings of houses soared past. We yelled “Yes, and!’, deciding to live by it. We found cheap
gasoline. We saw a dozen of deer near where we hopped out to pee in the bushes. We set up camp in the below-freezing darkness. We giggled. We joked. We planned our hikes and we thoughtfully speculated on our lives and work and families and politics. We had the time.
But this isn’t a diary. This is a promotional piece for all the the nature out in the great big world. Go see it.
Before my vacation, I felt like Jack K. said in On the Road “I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up
running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you.” That is exactly what my
life is doing to me. But the Grand Canyon put my mind at peace. Time with a friend and being in the astounding
presence of something much bigger than a person can possibly understand straightened out my brain.
So to finish off this post, I will include an unordered string of words to describe all the events of the time:
campfires, new friends, singing in the car, hike to the bottom and back, Colombian & Brazilian & Swiss, Antelope
Canyon, instant coffee, fresh fruit, Theo learns the importance of carbs, Jim Croce, Horseshoe Bend, Arizona,
Toadstools, Utah, driving, Jonathan the Park Ranger that cleans toilets, big fluffy snow, reading, big old moon,
sunrises, bought a National Park Pass, many pairs of socks, no showers.