“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”John Muir
Small, but not insignificant is the lone hiker at waters edge, silhouetted by the day’s last golden hues of reflection… Much frigid air separated us above the river bed at the rail of the Canyon Junction Bridge. We had no clue who he was but we were grateful just the same as his presence became an important component of our image, adding scale and that off-chance touch of human personality. If, as I suspect, he was taken by his surroundings and the scene unfolding before him, then he was certainly aware of his smallness in all of this, as were we –– just behind and above.
Before the early to mid-1850’s, this area was home only to the Southern Paiute Indians. As Mormons moved west and southward through Utah, an early settler in the area of Springdale named Isaac Behunin is credited with naming Zion, (a Biblical word describing a place of spiritual sanctuary in the Mormon faith.) Like it did with our 19th century predecessors, Zion’s towering cliffs, rivers and slot canyons continue to serve uncanny affect on her guests –– she creates a calm, yet totally overwhelming sense of awe and amazement. This land is certainly near God –– and Zion is, very literally a spiritual sanctuary. It transports us ever closer to the realization that there is purpose and meaning in it’s presence.
Utah’s Zion National Park –– Go, immerse yourself, spend many a day on countless trails. Find cliffs where vistas consume the imagination. Walk knee deep in her rock filled and icy waters. Listen to the mountain melody of birdsong and breeze wafting through Cottonwood grove on the valley floor. See the mist of morning and the fire of gold fade to azure blue at dusk. Make footprints in the snow beside that of the Mule Deer and Jackrabbit. Gaze upward to witness Bristlecone Pine cling to crevased sandstone more than a thousand feet above –– up there at the edge of forever. Know then, that this place has an author, a creator, an architect of the most devine. Time, wind and water –– sculptors of the most accomplished.
For those of us who crave escape, Zion is deliverance…