I CAN SEE FOR MILES AND MILES
This is the 1,345th time I've told this story, just so you know.
There is a spot at the Grand Canyon and this spot is nowhere to be seen in this picture, but it is prominently advertised in Grand Canyon literature as The Place To Be At Sunrise (or something like that, maybe, The Best Spot To See The Sunrise or something equally boring and active-verb free, not that "see" isn't an active verb, but it is pretty boring, I mean, what? you're just "seeing"? you can't, like, at least, "glare" or cliche out and "drink it all in"? and just as an aside, if you are going on a ranting run-on sentence, you should at least punctuate clearly, self, yes, I'm talking to you, self) and I can say, as you probably will too if and when I ever get to the point of this post, that that marketing plan is seriously lacking in accuracy and wonder.
This time about a decade ago, I road tripped incessantly and one trip took me from Tucson, AZ, to the Grand Canyon and after a hike down to the bottom of the canyon, which wasn't really the bottom, it was about halfway down and a squirrel followed us and he kinda looked hungry for most of the hike and then, suddenly, he wasn't hungry looking anymore, he was happy, and I was sure he did a little happy squirrel dance at one point but my friend said I was probably dehydrated because squirrels don't do happy squirrel dances and I was like, "So, what? They do, like, happy racoon dances?" and I remember being very thirsty and using the word "like" a lot.
So we get to the end of the hike and of course go right to the gift shop to buy a t-shirt that says, "I Hiked The Grand Canyon" (mine was teal, it was a large, I still have it, there's bike grease all over it now and a thumbprint of red paint) and at the register there was a pamphlet that said, "The Best Place To See The Sun Rise" or whatever I said it said in paragraph one, section one, of this treatise.
My friend and I were like, yeah, whatever. We were world-class road trippers and were then on our tenth day of travelling and we were way too jaded and experienced to believe literature for tourists
, pshaw. But the next morning came and we were up before dawn because neither one of us had anticipated the absolute agony our hamstrings would be experiencing after a hike up and down a fucking canyon (note: you should drink a lot of water when you're hiking because hiking is not walking, it's EX-ER-CISE) and since we were up, we decided to go see the sun rise. We had to drive to the point. We could not walk easily.
It was the southern most point. Maybe northern most. Actually, I'm not sure what -ern most point it was because it's easy to lose direction in the Grand Canyon because the Grand Canyon is like, "I don't give a fuck about you and your direction. I'M THE GRAND FUCKING CANYON." And, you know, it has a point there.
So there were some other people there, too, sleepy, but they had coffee, which we hadn't thought to bring though by that point I could feel how sore my arms were from the hike the day before (why? was I dancing down the trail? did I accidently do a jig with the squirrel? was it a squirrel jig? do the Irish know about squirrel jigs? do they think the squirrel jig is a rip off of the Irish jig?) and probably wouldn't've been able to lift a coffee anyway. So then someone goes, "Oh! It's time!" And we all look to the east and a dink of light starts eeking it's way over the horizon and then we all, as though we had just one head among us, immediately looked to the far wall of the canyon, just like the tourist literature instructed, and suddenly, gloriously, like the hand of god was tossing a god sized paint can across his god wall, the other side of the canyon lit up in every single color that has ever and will ever be created and it started at the east end and then--rrrrrrrrrrrrr--rifled across the entire wall all the way down to the west end, every color, EVERY SINGLE COLOR I'M TELLING YOU, every breathtaking love color ripping catlike quick in front of us . . . ohmygod . . .
And then, done. The sun was up. The day was like, "Um, yeah, I'm here, get to work, losers." The group of us, we just stood there. Silent. Mouths hanging open. I think I might've drooled. Also, it's quite possible I cried. It occurred to me that there is a god, which was a really big thought for me what with that whole lying to a priest thing and, you know, that disbelief in the illogical thing. It occurred to me then, there in the Grand Canyon, that I had just seen the whole world all at once, beyond the whole world, and the whole world and its beyond was so mouth-wateringly, language-stoppingly beautiful. I had just seen farther and further than I would ever see again. Miles and miles farther and further.