Grand Canyon Musings
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by Frank Shortt
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Our family took a trip to The Grand Canyon of the Colorado a few years ago. I was awed
as I gazed at the splendor and depth of her. I wondered then if I would be allowed to go through this earthly life without too many
Since that time I have had major back surgery, and a heart attack that, except
for a miracle from God, I would have been no more. At that time I could not help but wonder how many upheavals of nature it took to
form the awesome gorge. How many earthquakes, floods, giant windstorms, and other calamities did it take to gouge out the ravine that
The lines on the walls of the canyon tell of the levels of water at different
eras of time. The many-hued walls tell many stories of past civilizations. Gullies, cut by raging waters, tells us that anything earthly
is subject to change, as well as, revealing our own mortality. How frail this entity known as a human being! My whole life seemed
as a vapor as compared to this abyss of froth. Seams of rocks, ripped and jagged, seemed as old worm-eaten cloth.
Waterfalls, at the head of the river, fed by melting snows, flow incessantly, tumbling to the rocks below. Thunderous sounds of destruction
echo down the walls of the Canyon, reminding one of voices of giants who at one time inhabited regions of the earth. What tales these
old walls could tell of conquest, settlement, and destruction, as civilization upon civilization inhabited this historical document
written in stone. Scientists sometimes wonder if the canyon will become wider and deeper as the Mighty Colorado flows onward, or will
the crumbling cliffs, at some point, fill in the existing crevasse?
Our two girls were
very young when we visited Grand Canyon. As we drove up into the parking lot, the mouth of the canyon yawned at us like a monstrous
pre-historic animal. I had misgivings as I parked, giving the family instructions as to how best to approach the great opening in
the earth. I got out of the car, slowly and cautiously going to the edge with but a rail fence standing between me and eternity. The
Colorado River appeared as small as a pencil as observed from above. We were told later, that at this point, the canyon was a mile
in depth. I was reminded of my fear of heights at that very moment.
I hesitated to allow
the girls to walk up to the fence! I was sure that they were not experiencing the same sensation that enveloped me. As they walked
bravely to the fence, I was actually leaning away from them as if to prevent them from falling into the abyss. All the time they spent
in observing the wonders before them, I was constantly on edge, thinking that if one of them fell, there would be nothing left of
them but a greasy spot, if they were even found at all!
Although many years have elapsed
since this eventful visit, I still sometimes cringe as I think of this awesome wonder of nature. Burros still ply the thin trails
damaging the ecosystem by eating native plants and making deeper cuts into the sides of the canyon. Pack mules still take tourists
down into the bowels of the earth to view the river firsthand. (I must admit that I was, and still am, too chicken to attempt that
trip.) Their sharp hooves dig deeper and deeper into the trails.
Native Americanís, who
used to sell their handmade wares to tourists have now been replaced by Government run tourist shops with trinkets and knick-knacks
made in China. It is amazing how the Chinese can copy the original items, even the Navajo blankets and pottery, complete with Native
American markings. This industry began as America found out that after WW2 the Japanese, could replicate any item known to mankind.
This all reminds me that flesh is helpless. A human baby is totally dependent upon its
caregiver. The earth, as we know it, is practically a newborn. It is our job, as caretakers, to insure that all things have a balance.
If we live in the riverbed, we could be destroyed by water. If we live in the middle of a forest, fire will eventually visit our environs.
Grand Canyon will last as long as the Creator deems it is used for His purpose. Were it not for Him we would all have fallen apart
many years ago as man has pulled out all the inner structure of earth, and blasted atomic bombs on cities and in the ocean.
Hopefully, the next generation will be allowed to enjoy wonders, such as the Grand Canyon, that we have been blessed to behold. This
is my sincere hope and prayer.