Canyon Life and Death

I went on a coffee date yesterday and my trip to the Grand Canyon came up. Who knows how or why. I always tell it like it was a wonderful trip, a phenomenal experience. It definitely was a trip, of that I'm sure. Of what, I am not.

I was 16 years old. Six days and 5 nights were spent rafting down the Colorado River, sleeping under the stars at night, and hiking to the Anasazi ruins by day.

I got off the raft on our lunch break one day to a rattlesnake sunning. I awoke the first night and walked to the water, catching the movement of an unfamiliar animal scurrying away. I watched the goats climb the canyon walls in awe.

And he watched me. I had no coping mechanisms. I had just returned from my mission trip to Romania where I helped to build an orphanage for 2 weeks.

While I was just a child myself and he watched. I became dirty in that canyon water as he peered through those aviator sunglasses he had worn ever since I was old enough to retain a memory.

And he thought I didn't know. I had learned not to be afraid, but not how to fight. He had gone into combat in the 80s while I stood with no weapons to collect along the childhood way.

I tried not to see it. I tried to ignore it. It was no big deal and I was safe in the canyon with 3 guides and about 10 other people.

Or, was I safe in the canyon? Perhaps part of my youth was stripped then. However hard I tried, though, it somehow did not stay there. It seems to keep creeping to the rim.


Richmond, VA