Thursday, July 26, 2012

Making Peace With The Canyon




My first and only encounter with the Grand Canyon was when I was a child. My constant companion was a stuffed rabbit and I can recall to this day the pink velvet pants he wore and the curve of his sweet face, his black loving eyes. He was my safe place to land during a childhood that was at time often fraught with unimaginable darkness. 

It was on a family trip where he was snatched out of my hands and held over the railing and dropped. Every ounce of security I had in the world plummeted into an abyss in front of my eyes. I didn't know, I didn't know a lot of things, I was a child. He had really just landed on a ledge that I couldn't see as I lay on the ground in a heap of grief and despair. Onlookers witnessing my public humiliation.  These were the stories that populated my youth and these were the stories one never shared in school. 

So with great anticipation and some intrepidation, I returned to the canyon after all those years as an adult.  I wondered if I would remember the exact railing of a scene so long ago. Turns out, I did. 

A bittersweet journey into the past. A more loving memory: My mother had bought a small box of polished rocks and crystals when I was there and I cherished them for lifetime.  I still have them.  As a young girl,  I used to lay them out on my bed and study them. I was fascinated by them and I attribute them to that spark, that first realization that an immense natural world of beauty and wonder existed for me to explore. Little did I know at the time, how that wonderful natural world would come to mean so much to me and in reality guide so much of my life. Save my life in so many ways. 

Normally, I approach my photography as just a secondary part of my exploration. I find a place that compels me to explore and hike and experience, savor it, exist in it.  Touch and feel it, fall in love with it.  Then my challenge photographically is to capture those emotions with the camera. No stress, no pressure, just enjoying the moment. 

The Grand Cayon is a bit harder to get an intimate view of unless you're on a 10 day rafting trip or extended vacation. Some time constraints and other considerations put photography first this time. Regrettably, I hadn't approached the canyon with the peaceful frame of mind I normally would have on a solo trip. It was anything but peaceful albeit still beautiful. 

I'll return to make peace with the canyon, sit on a rock and watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee and my camera tucked in my camera bag. I want to walk away from the experience keeping every part of it in my heart to recall later with a smile. Let us part as friends and let that past memory be far overshadowed by the immense beauty and mystique that is the Grand Canyon. I never held a grudge

"The glories and beauties of form, color and sound unite in the Grand Canyon... It has infinite variety and no part is ever duplicated. Its colors, although many and complex at any instant, change with the ascending and declining sun..." John Wesley Powell

witnessed just a moment of what John Wesley Powell mentions and I want to return to appreciate it wholly, reverently and respectfully. Watch the color move in and out, pick up its warm glow and see it  trumpeted across the canyon walls in a spectacle unbefitting any human made palette. Follow the shadows as they creep and explore the crevices. Quiet the mind enough to listen and truly hear the song of the canyon. 


I spent 3 days there, the first day and all through the night it rained. The back of the SUV was cozy and warm as the rain fell all night on the roof.  Thoughts of Nora Jone's "Come Away With Me" filled my head.

"And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I'm safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night
Come away with me"

Thought of a person that song reminded me of and how he meant so much to me despite it all. 

Moving on, looking forward to returning and the new adventures and explorations and how to capture that the best I can.