There is no Place like the Grand Canyon

Lorrie in the Grand Canyon

I'm a bit evangelistic about getting people to go down the Grand Canyon.  It's definitely a place I think all humans should experience, And if you're a teacher using the writing recipe There is No Place LIke My Favorite Place, feel free to use this as a sample piece for your students, too. As you read this piece, enjoy the ride - and I promise you won't get wet!  

There is No Place like the Grand Canyon

River rushing. Water cutting through earth like butter.

Rapids roaring. Holding on for dear life.

By day, adventure screaming. By night, quiet star gazing.

Leaving hustle and bustle to travel through time.

There is no place like the Grand Canyon, and you can’t know if from the rim. To know the Grand Canyon, you have to get down deep inside it.  Away from cell reception, television, social media, newspapers, protests, podcasts, to-do lists, and planners.  You have to tilt your neck and strain your eyes to see up, up, up red walls that reach toward the sky.  You have to float in muddy brown water, beside ancient rocks, making you humble as an ant.

You have to feel the current of the river in your bones even when you’re on land, curled up in your sleeping bag, watching stars streak across the night sky.

You have to shiver like you’ve never shivered before when rapids drench the boat, and you keep looking down the river, searching for rays of sunshine that have penetrated shadows cast by canyon walls.  

You have to look up and see Condors soaring. You have to look down and watch scorpions scrambling. You have to be dirty and muddy and not care.  You have to pee in the river and not care. 

You have to sit around campfires, listening to stories about General Powell who first went down the river in a wooden boat, tied to a chair, with only one arm. You have to sit beside fellow adventurers from locations and lives so different than your own, strangers who become friends because you’re on a journey together.

You have to let your sweet child ride at the front of the raft where rapids are the most exciting and water hits hardest, even when you’re scared she’ll fly out and drown.  You have to let her hike along the cliffs with all the other teenagers, praying she’ll watch her step. Praying she’ll live long enough to take her daughter down this wild river, just like my mom did for me.

You have to gift yourself with slow and sacred time, soaking in the marvel of a river that makes you hold on tight, and let go of everything at the same time.  There is no place like the Grand Canyon.

Always writing,

Lorrie Tom

(Written under the influence of Cynthia Rylant’s Tulip Sees America.)