“You have to close your eyes,” he told me.
“I won’t let you fall.”
“Okay. You aren’t going to push me over the edge, are you?” I asked, joking.
I felt the rocky terrain under my feet, the cool wind biting through my jacket, and his warmth against me. Anticipation… careful not to trip, but knowing he’d catch me if I stumbled.
“You can’t look.” He said again.
As we got closer to the edge, he wrapped his hand over my eyes. It was warm and rough, calloused from hard work.
“Stop, here.” He told me. “Bend your knees a little. This can get pretty intense.” He stood behind me. Held me. I leaned back against him, waiting… waiting… aware of the tourists over by the beaten path that we’d so carefully avoided, and knowing that we stood here on the edge completely alone.
“Okay.” He said. “You can look.”
And then, I opened my eyes.
The images aren’t enough to capture the vastness of The Grand Canyon. It was my first time there, and though I’d seen pictures and movies, and read about it in books, nothing could have prepared me for the moment of “take your breath away.” I must have stood there for ten minutes, holding my camera, unable to do anything but stare and soak in the color.
“How,” I asked, “do I capture this?”
The truth is, it was the moment I wanted saved more than the landscape before me. Though beautiful and worthy of capture, the landscape will be there, like Simon and Garfunkel’s Boxer, “After changes upon changes…more or less the same.” The moment, though…
The truth is, it was one perfect moment on a trip that was exhausting and draining. It was one perfect moment in time, between stretches of aching about things that I couldn’t change, couldn’t fix, and couldn’t help. But it was one perfect moment, that I wish I could hold in the palm of my hand like the stones I picked up and brought back. A tangible reminder of the beauty, the immensity, and the constant.
The truth is, moments aren’t rocks to be polished. No… they’re more like butterflies. Beautiful and short-lived. You can spend all day chasing them, and even try to jar them, but the laws of nature dictate that they won’t last. All you can really do is enjoy them while they’re there… and then…
Close your eyes. Picture the butterfly wings, the yellows and oranges and blues. See the flight, the sunlight reflecting. Feel it brush your shoulder.
Feel his arms around you. His breath on your skin. His heart beating against yours.
Keep your eyes closed. Because when you open them, the moment will be gone.