“It looks amazing,” he said, gesturing to the magazine, “have you been?”
“Yes, I have and it is,” I answered. “It exceeds the hype. I stayed at the South Rim, but I hear the North Rim is great, as well. Less traveled.” He nodded as he scanned.
Suddenly, he stopped and looked at me. “Do you believe in God?” he asked, still smiling.
Quite the transition, but having lived in Tennessee awhile, I was ready. “It depends on what day of the week it is,” I said, trying to be both respectful and disarming.
See, I do believe in God, or I don’t, depending on my daily reality. I have friends of different faiths, who I admire and look up to for their dedication to service, humility, and community. Other people label themselves as believers and seem to manipulate the whole things to dubious ends. But, I don’t know their pain, so I try not to judge. As I get older, I see more of the gray area in everything, the shadows between black and white.
“The Canyon is there because of the flood,” he continued. “Noah.”
On the other hand, I believe in Science every day of the week. Water cut the canyon, for sure, erosion through the eons. You hike down a trail, you see it real time.
“The Colorado River is still working on it, I said,” trying to find common ground. “The Canyon is actually getting bigger.”
“It’s all from the days of Noah,” he said, dismissive, as if this explained everything.
One of the true clichés about the Grand Canyon is one can sit and stare at solid rock and see constant change in motion, as the sun ducks behind clouds, the earth moves, and shadows paint the day. Stone walls that appear static come alive, shifting in color and shape. It makes you think about the significance of the moment, and one’s very small part in that moment, no more relevant than Noah, going along for the ride. This is what I thought.
But “that’s interesting,” is all I said. There was silence. “You should definitely go sometime,” I added.
As I paid for my groceries, the girl at the end of the checkout line offered to box them up and take them out to my car, which I declined, as I always do. If I’m lucky, I’ll live long enough to be cruising through the grocery store on a scooter someday, unable to lift much or take my groceries to my car without help. Until then, I would do it myself. Plus, at the end of the day, I would only throw the boxes away.