I spent an afternoon at the Grand Canyon in the summer of 1986 and it was pretty awesome. Of course, that’s akin to saying that I spent an afternoon in the Smithsonian. Or maybe it’s like saying that I read the first five pages of The Lord of the Rings. Or I flew over the Himalayas.
Not that I’ve done all those things…I’ve only done two of them. It’s just that a half day was only a fleeting glance at one of the most incredible natural wonders, and that can’t possibly have allowed me to absorb all that is the Grand Canyon. Even the name “grand” comes off as woefully inadequate. “Stupendous” might be better, or maybe “phenomenal”, or maybe “awe-inspiring”. But mentioning the Awe-Inspiring Canyon still wouldn’t give it the justice it deserves.
Then again, maybe just calling it “grand” is purposely meant to be an understatement. You know, the whole “under-promise and over-deliver” thing. It’s named “grand” so when you get there, you’re blown away by the unbelievable, indescribable, awesome incredibleness of the place.
President Theodore Roosevelt, a naturalist at heart who ventured all over the world and saw hundreds of examples of nature’s magnificent beauty, visited the Grand Canyon and was quoted as saying, “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world…”
That’s pretty much my sentiment, too. It is beyond description. There is no way to, in human language, tell someone what the place is like. There are millions of photos you could look at (I posted a reasonably nice example above), but no photograph, no matter how big or how many megapixels, could possibly capture the spectacle. You simply have to go visit and be thankful for the two eyes that God gave you, so you can take it in visually.
It’s been a quarter century for me, and that’s a long time. We’re planning on visiting our son again sometime in the spring (he lives in a Phoenix suburb), and we’ve talked about driving down. If we do, a stop at the Grand Canyon will not only be suggested, it’s probably required. It’s just a remarkable place.
Oh, by the way, the Grand Canyon National Monument came into being on January 11, 1908. I, for one, am grateful for that. I think there are millions of people who, every year, discover they agree with me.