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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Navajo Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The South Rim at Navajo Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona is covered by cedars and a dusting of snow. Beyond, the mile deep grand canyon stretches to the horizon in shades of brown, yellow, and red.
The Grand Canyon’s immensity can’t be captured in photos. Maybe an IMAX movie could do it. But this photo from Navajo Point along Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim is my best attempt.

The scale of the Grand Canyon – really, all of the American West – can’t be contained. It must be felt in person. Out West, you realize how small you are and how large the Earth and Universe. The mountains, valleys, and plains go on beyond vision, and the stars are crisp and infinite.

And yet here in the West, especially in the desert, I feel most whole and meaningful, most at peace. This is my spiritual home.

My travels in the East Coast were pleasant, but it is small, humanscale, and overpopulated. (There is an exception: northern New Hampshire and western Maine, which remind me of Alaska.)

At this spot, Navajo Point, I left a seed ball for Liz. Yet it wasn’t her I missed this day; it was my father, John Allen Freer. He always wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but he never made it out. He died at only 40 from Type I diabetes, which he’d had since 5 years old. Many times on this journey, I’ve thought of him. He, more than anyone else I know, would have appreciated this trip. I wish we could have shared it. I was only 14 when he died; I hardly knew him.

The Grand Canyon calls to me. I want to go down inside and wander alone, maybe never to emerge. Here’s a video about a people who did just that, the Havasupai, who’ve lived in the canyon for at least 800 years.