Saturday, February 04, 2006

thousand points of light

Books have been written about it. Photographs taken. Movies made. Poems.
Nothing can capture this.

I’d set my alarm, but woke up about 15 minutes before it went off. Like I heard a voice, “Rod, it’s time.” Having arrived in the freezing dark, I had no idea what our context was to the canyon. I looked out the widow beside my bed and saw a sky beginning to get light, and Venus staring me right in the face like an airplane coming in for a night landing. She looked huge over the trees, and as bright as bright.
I woke Jack and made him look and he lay back down. No, I said, I’ve got something else to show you, hurry. We got dressed and took 3 steps outside our room door and had our breath taken away. Light was just beginning to make the canyon visible and there loomed hundreds of formations in various shades and depths and shapes and sizes. The bottom directly below us was still invisible. We stood for a while, in silence, continually noticing things that we hadn’t noticed a moment before. It can’t be taken in.
Finally, the sun peeped over the rim to our right and changed everything. The canyon became dark with a few spotlights on specific formations. A few moments later, more spotlights appeared. One at a time, the sprinkled bright light on the dark walls - ten, all at once. A faint glow began to rise up in the east corner and work it’s way west. Jack said it looked like “light vapor.” It really was as strange as anything I’ve seen.
For the next three hours, we walked east along the rim, scrambling on the rocks, gazing from juts and points, and watching the topography and texture seem to change minute by minute as the sun rose up and up and cast light and shadow into the canyon. Finally the dark canyon with lighted formations became the light canyon with shadowed formations. At every 10 yards along the trail, the vantage changed, and one notices shape and depth layers that were not evident or even visible moments before, or yards back. Finally, our empty bellies, numb toes and runny noses overcame the beauty temporarily and we made our way back to the room to warm up, clean up and find physical sustenance.