Beauty All Around Me – Grand Canyon & Zion

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“ With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.”
~ Navajo Blessing

For all the many countries and parts of the world I have traveled to I have always been slightly remiss in not traveling around my own country of America. It was not for a lack of interest or curiosity but it always seemed so close and other places seemed so far and I figured someday I would get around to seeing my own back yard. I have driven cross country in a blurry rush just after 9/11 when planes were still grounded, I have seen cities from coast to coast and some in the great expanse of the center; but when my German or European friends would inquire about our countries wonders like the Grand Canyon or our National Parks I would have to humbly admit to never having been. That was of course until recently.

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I worked a job in Las Vegas last month and I had the idea to finally take the road trip to see the Grand Canyon, the trip happened to coincide with my father’s 70th birthday and I invited him to join me on the road trip. We decided to center our weekend trip around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and a trip to Zion National Park. For as many places as I have visited nothing could prepare me for the views of this weekend, for the enormity of vistas, for the wide land and majestic red monuments towering, the light and how it moved and changed and gave each view an entirely new appearance.

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We hiked along steep cliffs and over smooth and ancient red rock formations, we drove and sang to the radio, we learned more about Navajo culture and were reminded how rich and complicated (and often overlooked) our history in this country is. I was left speechless at the beauty all around me in Zion and felt inadequate in gratitude to nature and our National Parks. I promised myself I would return and that I would also try to explore more of the beautiful places (especially our other National Parks).

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I returned home to last week’s news out of Charlottesville and feel so sad that the news just seems to become more and more bleak if that could even be possible. Our country is large, it is diverse, it is beautiful, but it also holds a history that we need to address and admit to or we perpetuate it. We have some of the most beautiful nature I have ever seen but we risk losing it because we have learned to not look at it, or appreciate it, or recognize how important it is. We walk in beauty all around us but we threaten to destroy it ourselves. We must look and see the beauty that is around us and work to preserve it, but we must also call out and protest that which is not our proudest moments (both in history and today) and work to recognize and rectify the wrongs.

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I discovered walking beneath the red caverns of Zion and viewing the wild deer and goats that I need not travel so far from home to view beauty and wonder (although I will continue to travel as far as I can) because there is beauty before me, behind me, above me, below me, and all around me.

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08 2017

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