The first time I visited the Grand Canyon it seemed a very long drive. The surrounding desert is monotonous, with very few plants mostly flat expanse of land.
I was a grown up, yet somewhere in my mind I was thinking “Are we there yet?”
Then, suddenly, we were. The inexpressively grand canyon, so deep and inconceivable, I can barely believe that I am seeing the far end of a reality.
I imagined how it must have felt for someone the first time. Not knowing that it was there, and walking forward to suddenly see what could never be imagined.
Many things in life there is an expectation. We set out to climb a mountain. We see that mountain, and its peak, every step we are taking to climb it. The biggest surprise is how very long it takes to climb it, or that we might not even be able to finish the ascent.
Life gives us those sorts of things a lot. Graduating from college can be like that. A mountain of work that looms ahead of us, which we slowly work at and plan for.
A child takes 9 months to be born, and then all the planning for the upkeep of your child is laid out steadily after that.
And then there are the other sorts of things. The great shocks. Death comes that way, sometimes. My friend Ted died in a car accident in his early 20s. No warning. He had overdue rental video games.
Like happening upon the Grand Canyon. How can this be? Ted was so alive. And now he is so very gone. I will never forget the day he left.
I wrote about how this July 4th, we celebrated in a usual way. In a previous edition of The Weekly Wonder, I talked about how we would remember that July 4th fireworks celebration because of the limited fireworks and the drought.
The month continued on in very ordinary ways, until it didn’t.
On the 27th, I was running in the park like I did every day, and I was assaulted. A stranger grabbed me from behind, threw me to the ground and tried to rape me.
No warning. Everything changed.
A rift. A crack. An inverted monument in the fabric of my life.
I still don’t know what it means. Only time will tell. But I will remember it. For the rest of my life.