Though we’ve been back for a while, I’ll write about most of our trip in present tense. It’s more lively that way. Pretend I was sending back postcards and letters that got lost in the mail and arrive long after we’ve returned home.
We arrive late afternoon at the Grand Canyon, just in time for lovely lighting.
The overlook with protective railings is packed with people, all snapping pictures, the sounds of chatter and shutters filling the space directly around us.
An exhale, a sigh.
We linger long, much longer than most people, and the noise level drops. I hear my son ask a question and my husband advise my daughter on the best position of her tripod. I look around and realize…
It’s just us.
I point this out to my family and we fall silent a moment, letting space fill the space. I breathe slowly in the fading light, drinking in the silence.
Then one of the kids asks when we’ll leave.
Spell broken, we discuss dinner plans and head back to the RV, debating whether or not to wake in time for sunrise. We decide to do it. Once in a lifetime and all that.
In the morning, we hustle to the overlooks where, again, crowds gather, though not as many as at sunset. It is, after all, five in the morning. As the sky lightens, we wait for the moment the day’s first shafts of light streak over the far side of the canyon.
And shutters snap nonstop like paparazzi.
I snap, too, feeling guilty for contributing to the noise, but unable to stop, hypnotized, mesmerized. People slowly leave the overlook, finished capturing a digital dawn, but we’re still here, lingering despite a few weary moans from the few who preferred sleep over sunrise.
And once more, we are alone out here. The six of us and the Grand Canyon. I stop snapping pictures, as does my daughter. In the second silence, we pause and take it all in.
There’s nothing to say. There’s only the silence, the space, and us.
In time, it seems right to leave. We stand up and move toward the parking lot, passing a young couple heading toward the empty overlook to take our place on the rocks.
Posts about our trip:
Photos by Ann Kroeker.
For about a year, I’ve followed this blogger with interest. His stories and photos inspired some of our planning.