Arizona Red

There were seven of us, including my sister, her husband, and his two sisters, who flew to Las Vegas, rented a white Ford van, and toured the northeastern part of Arizona. The land is arid, free of greenery, and filled with hills, mesas, buttes, cliffs, and canyons.

Grand Canyon
We visited the Grand Canyon and spent the night at the El Tovar Hotel where presidents have stayed. I got up at five one morning, sat on a big rock on the trail at the rim of the Grand Canyon—a geological spectacle one mile deep—and watched the sun rise and throw light against the cliff walls. Reds. Oranges. Sculpted rock. Majestic.

grand canyon sunrise
East of the canyon we went on a smooth water raft trip from the Glen Canyon Dam up the Colorado River and also took a slot canyon off-road Hummer tour, where we viewed the red rock canyons and landforms created by years of wind, rain, flooding, and fluvial abrasion. We went to the Navajo reservation and saw dinosaur tracks, bones, and eggs. Then we traveled on to Hopi land—Third Mesa, Second Mesa, and First Mesa—and saw the oldest continuously inhabited town in the United States. At White Bear Hopi Art gallery I bought a Kachina doll made by one of the local artists. We went to the Painted Desert, a meteor crater site, and the Petrified Forest, and we drove on the old Route 66 and stopped at Juan Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In where the daughter made jokes like the father used to. To end the trip we made our way down to Sedona for a couple of days of touring and shopping.

red rock
I fell in love with Arizona. I wanted to bring home the sage green succulents and trailing plants and the pink-red rocks. I couldn’t absorb enough of the view of the landforms. Beautiful. Colorful. Carved rock. Majestic.

Then a thought came to me. I was looking at the wonder of canyons and cliffs. I saw only beauty. But that beauty was carved over time out of harshness and upheaval. Violence within—earthquakes and volcanoes thrusting the rock upward. Fury without—a raging, flooding river cutting deep and wind blowing sand and rock, the friction cutting the earth. Battered. Washed over. Pounded upon.

How much like life is that? Something good and strong and beautiful is created out of pain and tumult.


One Comment on “Arizona Red”

  1. sarahbarnes1 says:

    Beautifully said; profound.

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