My parents visited The Grand Canyon in June of 76. My older brother was born later that year and mom was probably in her first trimester. For the moment though it was just them. They had already been to Yellowstone and wherever else and were pretty road weary at the time. The story goes that they finally got to the canyon, walked up to an overlook, stood there and looked at it together and my mom said, “It’s just a big fucking hole in the ground. Let’s go home.” Sometimes giant canyons seem like mere holes in the ground and sometimes little holes in the ground seem like infinite abysses. Perspective is a strange and forever changing thing.
We all went there together a few days ago. By all, I mean 13 of us. Last time i was there i was on some pretty powerful LSD and without children so this was a very different experience. For some it was probably just a hole in the ground and for others it was unforgettable and majestic. For me it was another reminder that there is so much more than me happening here on planet earth than my trip. Long lasting slow trickling things that leave real marks. My obsession with doing great things and making some sort of contribution to humanity with the brief 75 or so years I hope to have here is a laugh in the face of this kind of multi-millennial persistence.
This morning I popped my head into mom's hotel room next door from mine and asked her what she thought about it this time. She said it was breathtaking and always had been. It was just not as noticeable back in '76 after sleeping in a two seat volvo with my dad the night before. She said her vision has everything to do with where she's at internally at the time and little to do with what she is viewing or doing.
I just hugged her goodbye in the parking lot here in Albuquerque. We talked about the highs and lows of the trip and many things to come. We both agreed to just keep showing up and trying, regardless of how we are feeling. She had a red bandana in her hair and an old mickey mouse shirt on. I don't think she ever looked more beautiful to me.