Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Only Constant

It is easy to get lost in the Grand Canyon. Not just lost of your physical location, but lost in your own thoughts, and lost in time.

The allure of entering the canyon is intimidating and exhilerating. One can do everything in their power to make sure that they are prepared. Water, check. Compass and map, check. Food, (oh wait we dont have to carry food at this park...the mules do that for us) check! Snacks just in case I become ravenous, check. Camera, check. Comfortable shoes, change of clothes, rain coat, check , check, and check. The canyon wonderer is as prepared as can be....for the expected and maybe some of the unexpected. But what the canyon will throw at you might be something that can't be prepared for ...but maybe it is suppose to prepare you.

A place of this size and this much wonder causes you to look at the world from a different angle. And with the steep trail and various vantage points there are plenty of angles to choose from. As you desend from above you start to notice that the trail changes...from red powder to yellow rock to green shale. Tiny seashells and corals peek out from the Kaibab limestone 7,000 feet above sea level. This is a place where no ocean should be...at least for now. What took shallow seas millions of years to create I am crossing in just hours. And these crumbly layers of green, yellow, and red did not stand a chance against the powerful river below... ripping its way through the rock in a blink of an eye (that is if you compare it to my hike), 5 million years. Given enough time nothing is more changable than rock.

Keeping an eye on the south rim is hard. Shifting back an forth, switchback to switchback all directions seem blurred. The only thing you know for certain is that you are standing on the south side of the river. Many might look and say golly...that sure is a lot of rock. Surely they are right there is a lot of exposure. I admit the rocks are what I saw when I first glanced at it. But the canyon has away of changing views and as I stare down to the river and then up and down the canyon walls I think, " That there is a lot of space where rocks used to be." Trillions of tons of sediment were removed from this area. Sure makes my 5'7'' self feel pretty insignificant.

The changes that have occured here are so measurable that they can be seen, traced, back and relived through science and imagery. You can feel the power of the Colorado River as you sink your hands into the icy water and let the sand, newly grinded at the bottom, slip through your fingers. Life has adapted in the canyon and rocks have fallen from the top and into place somewhere along the way. Different levels hold a unique power over the landscape and it all comes together to form an ever changing wonder. Sitting among it all we can all become a part of the canyon because we are alive and can are here. Soon however, we like the rock, will be reshaped by something else. When we do become lost in thought and long for stability in an ever evolving universe we can be certain of one thing. The only constant here is change.

3 comments:

russellp said...

Five foot seven, really? I think you're being generous?

Addie said...

Thats what you took from this??
Glad to know my writing is effective...hahaha.
The doc told me I was that tall but I could have shrunk?

Jamie Hart said...

Lovely, my dear!