Mile 1859 - The Grand Canyon
Driving to the Grand Canyon I found the town that I should have been born in, Flagstaff. We didn’t have time to stop there. In fact all I can say I have ever done in Flagstaff is pump about 70 bucks of gas, but I love the place. Besides the barely 70 degree weather with no humidity in June (which is very appealing to a Southern boy), the downtown is close, crammed, full of people, and lined with local businesses. I love local flavor. From what I saw, Flagstaff is nothing but local flavor. To beat it all it is at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. And now, I will sound like a man from Florida talking about mountains, but just to give a frame of reference, as we were driving I told Shannon that I think the highest point in the Smokies is about 6,500ft. We were driving, in Flagstaff at 8,000ft and the San Francisco Peaks dwarfed us. We first saw them 212 miles away in The Painted Desert. I know this because I saw it on a sign there. They are so high there are still slopes covered in snow. So in 2 hours we came from the painted desert to a town with mountain peaks with snow on them. I love Flagstaff. Shannon was driving and all I could do was hang my head out the window and snap pictures. What a beautiful town.
The caveat to this is that The San Francisco Peaks are, or were, volcanic. I didn’t quite catch that part. In Alabama we get blown away by tornados. In Flagstaff you may be blown away by a volcanic eruption. I wonder what kind of freak out James Spann would broadcast during a volcanic eruption?
So after 1859 miles and 37.9 years I finally laid eyes on The Grand Canyon. I have watched film after film on the place. I have combed a thousand photos of it. I have read hundreds of articles about it throughout my life, but my brain sold it way short. It is wider, deeper, and glows more red in the sun than I ever pictured it. Shannon and I walked up to the railing in stunned silence. If the girls had been captured at gunpoint by terrorists in that moment, we would have had no idea. It is so huge it sucks you in. It frightens you and fills you with awe. Your instinct is to step back because it is more safe, but it calls you forward, daring you to try and take it all in. It is almost as if the Canyon taunts you, knowing how tiny you are and that there is no way your eyes have the capacity to comprehend all that it offers. We took pictures, but we realized quickly that photography was a pathetic representation of what we were seeing. Taking a picture of the Grand Canyon is like putting a thimble in the sea.
I prayed as we left for experiences on this road trip that would challenge and change me. Seeing the Grand Canyon has made me realize the God of my mind is way too small and I fear in some ways I have dismissed the Creator and instead worship a mental idol. There is not a worship hymn I have ever sung or a sermon I have ever preached that has done justice to the God how created this world, flooded it, and carved out this Canyon. His power is so great and I am so small. Paul prayed that the Ephesians would comprehend with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth, to know the love of Christ and to be filled with all the fullness of God. I had no idea what breadth, length, height, and depth were until I saw this Canyon. We talked to a woman this afternoon who has hiked 600 miles in the Canyon. By her own admission she has seen very little of it. The Grand Canyon makes me realize that I have been far to satisfied with far too little of Christ.
So I’m having my moment at the rim of the Canyon. We have only been there a few minutes, my soul is full and so I ask Shannon to snap a picture. The pose will be arms raised, one of those “worship” shots. Shannon has been a little “angle” sensitive this trip, trying to get the proper lighting and focus on every shot. I think she is tired of going home from trips and seeing bad pictures. So this whole “worship” shot is taking a minute. About the time she finally snaps the camera a bee flies into my face. The end result was “psycho worship.” I hope you enjoy laughing at the end result as much as we have.
The Grand Canyon also confirms to me that I don’t have enough faith to be an evolutionist. If you have watched 10 minutes of Discovery Channel or one of their spin offs over the years you know that the Canyon is the centerpiece for evolutionary propaganda. If you visit the geology museum at the rim you will quickly realize you are at ground zero. The story goes that the area of the Canyon was once an inland sea, then a volcanic desert, then the victim of massive plates of land thrusting upward, and then the crown jewel responsible for finishing off the Canyon as we know it is the mighty Colorado River. I took Morgan through the whole display and then walked her outside and pointed down to the tiny green vein, the river, that ran through the Canyon almost 2 miles below us. I explained to her that the Biblical flood story gives room for all of the things that evolutionist theorize to happen over billions of years to happen in a short period of time (Everest proves this possible). We talked sediment, erosion, the whole bit. Finally I asked her, which is easier to believe, the Biblical flood did this or that river?” Even a child can answer that one.
Shannon and I honeymooned in Vermont. Vermont is supposed to be full of Elk and Moose. They must all be dead. I wanted so badly to see something but saw nothing. After we dumped our luggage in the room at the Canyon I went to park the van. The place was packed so all the parking spaces adjacent to our lodge were full so I went on a long journey to park. While searching for a parking space I turned a corner and came face to face with an Elk. People nearby saw what was happening and starting coming out of the surrounding buildings and off the sidewalks. It was not but just a few minutes later that a man began to calmly, but sternly warn his wife, who was standing beside my van, “Honey, he wants the space you are in.” I thought for a moment that the man realized I was trying to park. But he wasn’t talking about me wanting the space she was in, he was talking about Elk #2 wanting the space she was in. That space, again, was right beside my van. So in the next moment, the lady moved and sure enough I had Elk #2 standing at the back sliding door of the van. The bottom of his shoulders were level with the top of the van. I never realized it, but Elk are very tall. I got some great video, hopefully I can get it online soon.
We will spend tomorrow morning touring more of the Canyon then its off to Hoover Dam and Vegas. I love the Ocean’s movies. I need to find a cool suit before we get there.
On to Vegas . . .