Grand Canyon Report – Long Overdue

I never wrote anything about my October trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. What can one say that hasn’t been said before? It is all true, whatever they’ve said about that part of the country and the trance like effect it can induce. It is hard to tear ones eyes away from the beauty, to try to stop oneself from walking as far up to an edge as one would dare and then to look down, unable to drag oneself away from the moment, watching eagles’ nests or other birds circling in the canyon below and the Colorado River winding its way through the canyons so far away in the distance. One seeks saturation in that unspoiled beauty, a compelling desire to be absorbed into something that is bigger than oneself: the force of nature in action.

I wanted to pen a few words to preserve the memory but my words are inadequate. Which is perhaps the reason why what is even more memorable to me than the surroundings and the effect it had on me is an almost life like rendition of the canyon – oil on canvas – that graced the walls of the gift shop at one of the scenic stations. It was large; the canvas was perhaps 200 square feet in dimension. I had to inquire about it; it was the most striking landscape I had ever seen captured in paint, on canvas.

The cashier told me that the painting had taken years to complete. I asked about the artist and how he managed such an accurate perspective and such realistic coloration. She told me that he had been living deep within the canyons for several years now, that he had felt no qualms about abandoning the stresses, strains and tedium of the lives that are only too familiar to most of us. He had walked away from it all, without a second look back. That was fascinating for me, almost as fascinating as the canyons themselves. A concept that doesn’t cease to amaze no matter how clichéd it gets: walking away. So many real and fictional men have simply walked away to do what they want, to meditate, ruminate, and seek answers or oneness with a larger entity. Leaves me wondering why one hasn’t heard of too many women taking such action; some have tried, no doubt, and have in all likelihood earned vilification for being irresponsible mothers or wives or just plain insane. The idea is fascinating all the same: living in the bottom of the canyon to paint and live and live and paint.

So I’ve carried the memories of this painting back with me along with the image of an artist at the bottom of the most incredible natural phenomenon in this country. An anchored image that serves as a launching pad for a wistfulness that is complemented by the strains of R. Carlos Nakai’s flute music that we played in our top down convertible as we descended into Sedona, watching the sun set over the burnt umber mesa. The trip felt so much more like being wrapped in waves of silken caresses, like being alive and receptive to every sensation, than a mere tourist experience. If time had stopped at this juncture there wouldn’t have been any complaints.

1 Comment

  1. Good recollection and wonderful expression of how you percieve your childhood.Life unfolds differently for different people.Enjoy what you have. I am sure your child would have a different recollection of her childhood than you think what she would have.

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