Monday, November 17, 2008

Life on Bright Angel

Hiking down Bright Angel trail into the Grand Canyon was, at first, breathtaking in just trying to get footing while taking in the incredible size of the rock formations and depth of the rim down to the Colorado River. At first, as so often the case, everything seemed very quiet. The only sounds seemed to be my labored breathing, heartbeat, and careful stepping so as not to slip and take the big slide over the edge.

Then, as I began to get my stride and relax enough to look up and down, I began to have eyes to see the life on the trail. A hawk flew overhead, scouting the massive and varied crannies for some breakfast. A squirrel popped over the edge, surely not understanding, or perhaps totally understanding just how big his home was.

A mule tethered to the tree waited for the trail guide to finish instructions to the riders. He was surefooted, and had carried thousands safely in and out of the canyon. We overheard the guide instructing the riders to trust their mules, and let them lead. They had carried many, and never had an accident. Hmmmm. They could probably do it in their sleep.

Then a spirited, fearless bluebird landed on the path right in front of me. I don't know if he was used to hikers sharing a little snack, or why he was so brave. But seeing him was delightful.

Finally, turning around and starting the demanding climb out of the canyon, we came to a treacherous switchback. A young man was down on his knees taking a picture of something rather small. As we approached, someone told us it was a tarantula. It was actually quite small compared to the palm sized fellows I have seen in Texas.

Life was abounding, and as my eyes could focus on life and not fear, I was able to see it abounding all around me.

For you, O Lord, have delivered my
soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:8-9

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