Friday, August 10, 2007

Grand Canyon Memory

Profgrrrrl is off visiting Las Vegas with a Grand Canyon trip on the side. She posted this picture

of a sunset on her blog this evening, along with a few others. (Go there if you want the link to a larger version.)

That brings back a particularly special memory for me. Let's pluck it out of the Pensieve.

I was at Los Alamos on a multi-week consulting gig. My parents were in California to visit my grandmother. Mother's Day weekend approached, coinciding (as it sometimes does) with my birthday. I heard an ad on the car radio for cheap one-way fares to SFO, no pre-purchase needed.

Idea. Bought a there-and-back pair and made arrangements with my uncle to pick me up at SFO and bring me to the church for Mother's Day Sunday. All secret. Flight left ABQ at dawn. A few balloons were being launched outside town and I settled in for the flight.

Then the pilot called our attention to what was between us and California: the Grand Canyon at dawn from about 10,000 feet up. The entire length of it, lit by the golden light of the rising sun. No photo can do justice to the image of it that still lives in my mind. Immense. Beauty. Orange. Not unlike the photo above, except for the vista that comes from being above it. Changing continuously as the sun pushed the shadows out of the canyon.

That alone would be quite a memory, but it is closely tied to the one of the look of joy on my mother's face when she saw who had just wished her Happy Mother's Day as they walked up to our group by the church. (And then asked if she had his birthday present!) A Mother's Day does not go by that we don't both remember that day.

I don't remember anything about the return trip.

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