It’s the start of the Summer season, which means a lot of baby boomers go out and see parts of the country far from home. That’s what BoomerCafé publisher and co-founder David Henderson just did, and it was a cleansing experience. How could it be otherwise, at the Grand Canyon?
Standing at the south rim of the mighty Grand Canyon in Arizona, I reflected on my reasons for being here. Perhaps it sounds a bit spiritual but I felt a purpose in being drawn back to view the immensity of one of the most remarkable places on earth.
It isn’t my first time. I have come to the Canyon several times over four decades, and the place seemingly has not changed. While we live in an ever-increasingly intense and chaotic world, the Canyon’s time clock is measured in millions of years … almost as if the Canyon tells us unequivocally that it was here long before us and will exist long after we are all gone.
My internal urge to return to the Canyon started as I worked in my office in Arlington, Virginia, and listened to the near-constant wail of police, ambulance, and fire sirens … day and night.
The DC area has turned into an environment of abrupt and dishonest behavior, irrational and dangerous recklessness on highways, hostility that plays out in random shootings, and attitudes of selfish entitlement.
My desire to visit the Grand Canyon was not unlike the premise of the motion picture “Grand Canyon” from 20 years ago, when a diverse group of friends in Los Angeles escaped to the solitude of the Canyon. I will always remember a line that Kevin Kline spoke to Danny Glover in that film because it rings as true today as 20 years ago:
“The point is there’s a gulf in this country. An ever-widening abyss between the people who have stuff and the people who don’t have shit. It’s like this big hole in the ground, as big as the f**king Grand Canyon. And what’s come pouring out is an eruption of rage, and the rage creates violence, and the violence is real. Nothing’s gonna make it go away until someone changes something, which is not going to happen.”
But the Grand Canyon can make it go away, at least for a while. Even though visited annually by millions of people from around the world, it’s possible to simply tune-out and watch a large California Condor glide past the cliffs or catch a glint of the Colorado River as it snakes through the Canyon a mile below.
I think as we get older … to this point in our lives … many of us want to isolate ourselves from the rage because nobody’s going to change it. What we seek is more individual solitude and sanity. Certainly I do. Even though I live in the nation’s capital, I want the … well, call it, renewal of spirit and the centeredness that comes from such natural grandeur as the Grand Canyon. Here, I found it.
All photos ©2013 David Henderson.