The Grand Canyon
Written after my third visit to Grand Canyon on Nov 11, 2008
I have been to Canyon thrice in last two years. Every time I visit it, I discover a new angle to its beauty, I see a newness in it- a new spirit with which it stands still for more than five million years.
I stand speechless before the Canyon, listening to its silence in perfect exaltation. Its enormity burns my retina. The magnificent beauty inexorably drives you to enact things shown in various movies like falling on the ground to kiss the earth or screaming at the top of your voice and listen to the echo.
The world on my side- the park from where tourists see the Canyon, is noisy. There are people chattering, children running around and cameras clicking. But the Canyon is still. The two opposing world collide and get engulfed by the vastness of the Canyon that separates the two world.
Looking at the stillness of the Canyon, it seems improbable that the making of Canyon was a noisy event. Its birth has been a geographical mystery. The most accepted theory and the equally challenged and debated one is that the Canyon was carved by the massive Colorado River. Chopper rides take you over the river. The river is big but smaller than what it was. How mighty the river would have been to carve out these sheer gorges- the thought gives me a goose flesh! The breath-taking view from the chopper shows the river flowing like a thin blue strip. Totally reduced to exhibit and tom-tom its magnificent masterpiece.
What a masterpiece it is?? Words run into clichés to describe it. A masterpiece that justifies itself in the list of seven Natural wonders of the World.
It is one of the most photographed tourist places. Over 600 lives have been tragically lost in the Canyon since its discovery. Most of them were photographers, mesmerized by the Canyon and trying to seize its beauty and spirit on their films. The Canyon seems unaware and indifferent to those lives lost.
The Canyon is “Grand”. The vastness seems to reach the horizon. And as it was not enough the booklet from the information center will tell you that it stretches 277 miles across northern Arizona. At places it is about 1600 meters deep.
The Canyon seems to be excluded from the world. A part of the world but still indifferent to it. But the booklet in my hand tells me another deceptive fact that it has been the home and hope of many ancient Indian tribes. They lived and thrived in the Canyons by the Colorado river. The Clovis and Folsum 10,000 years ago, and the Puebloan around 1275 AD. Even today, the Havasupai live in Grand Canyon. The Navajo Indians and Hualapai Nations own land in the Canyon. And Hopi and Zuni are two sacred sites ( pilgrimages)inside the Canyons today.. …….. Was there life or rather still there is life in this stillness…..goes beyond my belief and imagination!!!
The I-Max theatre tells so much about the Canyon- how it has been a part of the long history. A part of the geographical mystery- which so many of the researchers are still trying to crack.
The Canyon stands taller, bigger and somber than anything I have ever witnessed. Dead still, unmoved and stoic. It has witnessed so much- birth and death of various civilization, of geographical marvels and geological turmoils.. It has dealt with the vagaries of time. But it seems unaware- stands tall, stoic and silent.
It is silent for so many millions of years. This silence dictates so many stories told and heard. Still it is pregnant with sagas untold.
Each time I come here , I savour the view and listen to Canyon. My feet are planted in noise and soul reaching the dead stillness of sky--- a stage of unawareness- -- a stage of nirvana.