There is this recurrent dream to travel the world. Lots of people have it. In America, it's in our DNA to move, to wander, to migrate, and to travel. Often, in our wanderlust, we forget about our need to connect with specific places and to know them with intimacy. Seeing a million places is not always better than knowing several really well.
Next month I will hike Grand Canyon for the fourth year straight with two dear friends that I've known since childhood. Every year we muse about going to another place for our hike but we always return to the canyon. By now, it seems necessary, a form of sustenance that is our touchstone. It is a place to reflect on the past year and, more importantly, to be at one with the earth. The descent into the canyon is an exhilarating passage through time. We take various routes to the river, each one as magnificent as the last.
It's easy to pick Grand Canyon as the revisited place, yet, it need not be spectacular or grand. I mentioned in a previous post that Edward Steichen photographed a shadblow tree adjacent to his home. That was as spiritual a spot as any other. The frequency of Steichen's visits and the intimate sharing of spirit with the tree and its surroundings was his portal to enlightenment. One could pick most any spot, as long as it resonates in that kind of way that every sentient being understands. It is of connection and peace.
Our drive to the canyon is always filled with anticipation. The road that leads to the park always feels like a million miles long. We strain our necks for the first glimpse of the deep gouge in Mother Earth. The canyon hides from us, teasing us with its magnitude. We look for signs. The rolling terrain seems so benign. We think of how the first unknowing humans must have stumbled onto the place. A mile from the rim one sees no indication that the world's biggest hole is so close. And then, suddenly, there it is. We smile, hoot, and pat one another on the back. We are home.
I'll post some images in late September on the web site from this year's adventure.