We woke up like it was any other day How was I supposed to know I would be changed today?
The drive was an hour and a half to the Grand Canyon. We drove through mountains of lush pine trees and entered the south end of the park. I was really surprised to see so many mainstream tourist spots, such as McDonalds and other fast-food joints.
It was $25 to get into the park. Thank God we had some cash. I didn’t realize you had to pay to get into National parks. Silly Elise. I should really research some of these things before I venture into it; but then it wouldn’t be unknown. At least I’ve been prepared so far.
What I was not prepared for was the sensation that encompassed me at the first view of the canyon. It’s somewhat a shame that a certain four letter word was the only thing that escaped my mouth.
There really are no words that can describe what one may feel at this wonder. It is so vast. No lens can capture a clear picture. Even to the naked eye, there is a mist over the distant canyon. You feel the infinite of life and the spec of time you actually exist all at once.
Mr. Robert had told us while we were in Fort Sumner that it doesn’t seem like this majestic site can exist in the U.S. I wish we were known for more spots like this rather than ignorant idealists.
Nick and I just sat in silence for a moment in awe.
We then walked to another lookout point where there were a few more people. There was a family praying, a Japanese family talking in foreign tongues and a young emo-couple–the guy was actually nose to nose with a squirrel.
As we walked up the path to another lookout point, I noticed how many different languages I heard. When we arrived to the tourist spot, there were translations in over six dialects. It was impressive to feel a part of such an amalgamated space.
We decided to find a shuttle bus to another part of the park in order to broaden our view. As we drove to the pickup spot we noticed a tourist center. We thought it would have information, but what it had was the biggest tourist-trap store ever. Did you know there is a Chase bank in the Grand Canyon?
You can buy Northface products and granola and raunchy paperback books.
My stomach turned. To me there is a place for city and a place for natural environment. I was so turned off that I almost just left, but Nick talked me into taking the shuttle for one more view.
Yet again, thank God for second chances.
We got off the bus and saw tour buses, one which read “Freedom Tour” over the dash. It made me feel a little better. We hiked over a small hill and walked through a cabin-like hotel to see the most glorious vision. We took a right and tried to get away from the hotel as fast as possible. Not too far off the path was a cliff that called my name.
It was quiet and I couldn’t hear anyone else. Nick had found his own cliff parallel to mine. I sat Indian style and slowly exhaled. I then inhaled and closed my eyes. I felt so balanced. I knew there was nothing in front of me except a drop of hundreds of feet. I had no fear. I had no thoughts. I just felt everything. I felt free. I felt like ME.
I opened my eyes to see a rolling canyon, but in the center was a greater crack that looked like a spinal cord that opened into a “V” at the very end of it. I was aligned in the middle and it almost looked like a person lying straight with their legs open to the world. Or maybe that’s just what I saw.
Regardless, I felt open to the universe. I have no reason to hold anything back anymore. I have survived poverty, college, heartbreak and loss…just like most people.
But for some reason, I have been fortunate enough to be placed in a perfect position. I literally can do whatever I want. I do not have any children or a spouse yet. I have all of these big dreams and I can choose one and go with it. I can move or stay at home and I would be completely satisfied. I feel so blessed that I almost feel guilty. But I also know that I have made different kinds of sacrifices along the way that many don’t choose.
It’s the LIVER philosophy. Doing what is right for you, regardless if it works for others. When you do that, you live. And when you live, you become a LIVER. A wise uncle of mine taught that to me two summers ago. It’s a process, but the refining stage has been incredible.
I feel like I have been living wholey since graduation because everyday has been completely new and completely different. I have not done one thing the same or mundane. I know that stage may happen again, but it won’t be for a while.
These were some of the clarifying thoughts that went through my brain on the top of that cliff. I stood up, stretched my arms to the sun and then stood in mountain pose.
I looked over and saw Nick sitting on his rock with his legs dangling into the oblivion. Our mother’s would be freaking out if they saw this.
We walked the trail back to the car, took a rock for Mooney’s third-graders and then drove off. I know. It’s kind of bad karma to have a spiritual experience and then take something. But it’s for a class! Nick even drew a comic strip on the way back to Flagstaff depicting how we would get arrested for taking a chunk of the canyon. It ended with two guys in a cell, one saying he was in for murder, when Nick responded saying he took a rock from the Grand Canyon, the slayer replied with “You Bastard”.
Ironically, we ate lunch at McDonalds. Two American novelties: Big Macs and the Grand Canyon. I hadn’t eaten there in ages, but for a few bucks I got a side salad, yogurt parfait and a grilled snack wrap. Not too bad for fast food.
We made it back to Flagstaff to walk through downtown again. We decided to postpone Vegas in order to take in the city one last time. I bought some “Maverick” shades at a boutique, along with some purple tights and several bumper stickers.
One of Nick’s fraternity brothers had picked up his sister in L.A. and they stopped to have some coffee with us before they headed to Tuscon. Oddly enough, his sister turned out to be one of my former Sigma sisters.
We started chatting and both realized that Austin, Texas may be in our near futures. Funny how things work out.
Nick and I made it back to Marcus and Eva’s in time for a grilled feast. We drank a Flat Tire beer and called it a night. I can’t wait for those two to move to Lafayette. It’s such a blessing to find such wonderful people who you get along with. Plus, I really hope I can return the hospitality that was shared.