On the Road

The Big Calm

It has been 17 long days and short nights that I spent with 8 families from Holland and one fellow tour guide on a road trip through the Southwest. It has been quite an experience after a year in the solitude of Alaska.

There were many highlights on this drive. I remember a moment of utter silence at the Grand Canyon. We had spent a night at Monument Valley in a hogan with a Navajo story teller. The next morning, there was a lot to talk about: The hairy tarantula that checked into our camp, the double rainbow over Left and Right Mitten, the lack of running water. The kids had almost forgotten about their electronic gadgets that were useless without power and internet. So it was a chatty drive to the Grand Canyon. When we arrived at the parking lot of Desert View, we asked the parents to take their teenagers by the hand, have them close their eyes and guide them with us to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was a clear evening. A slight breeze kept the air refreshing. The big gap glowed in warm colors. A maze of dark canyon walls and bright ridges opened up in front of us. After everybody was lined up, we asked the children to open their eyes on the count of three.

“1”

Pause.

“2”

Longer Pause.

“Two and a half!”

<Laughter>

Long Pause.

“3!”

<Silence>

Then came the first “Wow”. Disbelief. Then the usual sounds and gestures of excitement.

I found this brief moment of silence rewarding. The Colorado River had done his magic.

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