The cold wind swirled out of the Grand Canyon yesterday afternoon to attack me from all sides. Fifty degrees and up to fifty mile per hour gusts, though temperatures dropped quickly. We left the park with wispy snowflakes blowing all around us.
When we arrived a few hours earlier it had been sunny, with a few clouds on the north horizon. I wish we’d parked ourselves in front of the first railing we saw and just drank in the view. Instead, looking for greener pastures, if such a thing exists at the Grand Canyon, we hopped a bus and traveled up and down roads in search of a better view. We were just fleas jumping around for no good purpose. Just as any bite will do on a dog, so any bite of this view would offer more than we could chew and absorb.
With the wind pummeling me from every direction, I did not wish to venture too close to the ledge. The wind and occasional sheer silence reminded of the story told in the Bible of Elijah and God on a mountaintop. Elijah hid in a cave while a powerful wind tore across the mountain—he continued to hide as the sound of earthquakes and fires echoed all around him. Only in silence did Elijah sense God’s presence — only then did Elijah crawl out of his hidey-hole.
I knew a little of Elijah’s fear yesterday. The Grand Canyon is sacred space. God’s fingerprints are all over it. Every view takes your breath away, even without 50 mph gusts. I uttered not one word about its beauty. Anything I would have said would have been profane.
There were no earthquakes or fires yesterday. No burning bushes. Thank God. The wind would have carried the flames across the entire canyon. But in the occasional sheer silence I thought I heard something close to God’s spoken words to Moses, the time he called out of a burning bush. He spoke these to me.
Take your shoes off. Sit awhile. Be still—no need to go hopping around like a flea. Just know that the whole entire space of this big hole is holy ground.