The first time I went to the Grand Canyon in 1989 was with Pa’Ris’Ha Taylor and some of my other friends. We flew into Phoenix and rented vans for the drive up to Sedona. It was late afternoon when we got to the canyon. We came upon a roadside lookout and pulled over. I walked to the railing and was so overwhelmed by the splendor of the canyon, all I could do was weep. It was not sadness I was feeling, it was sheer joy and the recognition of the greatness of life.
We hurried up and got back in the vehicles so we could check into our hotel. We returned to the rim of the canyon just before sunset. We all sat down on the rock near the edge to watch the sun go down. It was spectacular beyond description. I was sitting cross-legged, looking out into the distance. I watched as the velvet darkness took over the magenta/turquoise sky, and stars began to appear. It was magical.
A bit later when there was no sunlight remaining in the sky, and the midnight blue had stretched over the world in an infinite expanse, she told us stories of the time she has spent there as a younger woman.
We were filled with laughter and wonder. Pa’Ris’Ha told us to look up and try to count the stars. There were uncountable billions in the heavens, more stars than I had ever seen anywhere at once. She said, “Do you see how many stars are in the sky beloveds? As many stars as you can count – that is how much I love you.”
This was my introduction to the Grand Canyon. It pulled me out of my habitual way of thinking the world is a small place that exists inside the rooms of a house, the back yard, the street, the car or the places commonly traveled. The canyon began to teach me about the expansive, infinite nature of my own spirit and it is all about love. There is more love in the world than we could ever use up, we are surrounded by it, saturated with it. There is so much love, we could give it to everyone we meet every day of our lives and still have more to give. The reason we can experience the majesty of the wondrous places in the Earth is simply this; as human beings we contain within us the beauty and the majesty from which all great things are created, it is who and what we are.
Thinking back to that experience I realize how it has given me the courage to reach out to people now that I meet, and invite new friendships. I do not feel the need to limit my relationships to a handful of familiar friends and family. There is enough room in my life for many friends, to expand and include more people. As my circle of friends grows, my horizons expand. When I have moments where I feel the world is closing in on me, I think of the love, as boundless as the space from the base of the Grand Canyon to beyond the starlit heavens. I allow it to take me into the all-inclusive vastness to knowing that all things are possible.
~ Robbi A. Gunter