Truly breath taking

Immersing senses in present moment

Posted: May 17, 2018 at 1 a.m.

I write this column while seated on a rock at the edge of Horseshoe Bend outside of Page, Ariz. The sun is rising behind me -- which, not being a morning person, are words I don't typically string together. It takes my breath away, both the view and the 5 o'clock hour.

Or at least, I think it's 5 a.m., but I can never be real sure around here. Page is on Mountain Time, but Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Saving Time. While it's 7 a.m. in Arkansas, it's 5 a.m. here, unless you step a few feet this way onto Navajo land, or a couple miles that way into Utah, both of which do recognize Daylight Saving Time, so it's 6 a.m. All I know is it's early.

I find myself perched here because of my Aunt Kay, who had this destination on her bucket list and invited several to join her on her adventure. Today is the exceedingly early start of Day 2. Day 1 was spent touring Antelope Canyon, which is a slot canyon on Navajo land. With its narrow, winding passages and 120-foot depth, the canyon plays host to a dance of sunlight and shadows pirouetting off the rock, creating a popular tourist spot for photographers -- which most of my traveling companions are.

I, too, enjoy photography. But for some reason on this trip, I wanted to spend less time behind the lens and more time fully immersing all five senses in the wonder of the present moment. I'm finding it's a good practice for life in general.

The air felt cool in the deep canyon. I traced my hand across the sandstone, worn smooth from years of wind and water erosion. I listened to the chatter of fellow tourists and, having never met a stranger, engaged many of them in conversation. Several of us watched a crow in its intricate nest built high on a canyon ledge. I promptly named him Russell.

The rest of the day was spent meandering the town of Page and basking on the shore of Lake Powell by the aptly named Lone Rock. The water was cold and refreshing as I waded in, not wanting to miss a thing.

And now this morning I sit -- barely awake with wild hair and no makeup -- at the edge of a sprawling vista near a wild hare munching sage brush. Both of us are content in our endeavors. From the road well traveled, the scenery is lovely, but nothing compared to the grandeur that lies just out of sight, beyond the rim and within the crevasse. If you're not searching for it, it would look like a relatively flat desert horizon, and you would miss it entirely.

That truly takes my breath away.

NAN Our Town on 05/17/2018