Yesterday on the road we saw a humongous billboard showing a hand flipping a light switch. The caption read something like “the simple way you can save energy.” The best part? It was an electronic sign.
We pulled off at about 5:30 PM (after missing the exit on the first shot) at the Colorado Welcome Center. I located and retrieved the camp stove and set about lighting it near a table in the shade we had selected. Jacqueline, in the meantime, set up LB with a feeding station. As I waited for the noodle water to boil, I grabbed my laptop. Our camera’s memory card was getting full, and needed purging onto the hard drive. I set up the laptop, external hard drive, and camera to play nicely together when across the lawn I see sprinkler heads begin to pop up, soaking nearby tables in a matter of seconds.
Panic is a good word for it. With my entire electronic life sprawled out before me, I began hurriedly to pack the computer back into the bag and rushed it to the van. Tragedy averted. We even took what turned out to be too much precaution (the table we were at never reached the line of fire while we were there) and moved our cooking station over to the grassless area near the buildings.
The water had begun boiling, and noodles added. In fact, things were all set for straining. I picked up the handle of the pot, and immediately regretted it. My thumb has a handle-shaped burn mark that hasn’t yet stopped throbbing. Once the noodles were stained, the sauce warmed up, and the 7-Up uncorked, it was time to enjoy a budget-friendly meal.
Included in the meal is a memory worth far more than the money we saved.
On to Utah for a couple of days of hotels before we hit the GRAND CANYON!
After checking in at the ranger’s station, I quadruple-point turned the van into the spot deignated for campsite 38.
First order of business: go look at the Grand Canyon. We put the boy in the stroller and wheeled it about 300 yards south to the edge of the canyon.
The trail from the pavement to the actual canyon was about 50 feet long, so I took Benjamin and popped him on my shoulders, his favorite place to ride. He alternated between trying to rip my ears off the side of my head and playing drums with my head. But he was happy.
As we got near the edge, I felt a sensation I have never once experienced. I was still easily 15 feet from the edge, yet I heard my inner voice saying “that’s close enough, Benjamin.” Then my inner 15 year old started an argument. “Are you kidding me? you can’t even see the bottom of the canyon from here! At least take a few steps closer.”
It was probably wise that I stopped there. The combination of my child on my shoulders and the loose gravel at my feet would have spelled a sour ending to the day. Plus, we have all day tomorrow to explore and get great pictures of the canyon.
We’re all safe and sound, so no worries about us. There is wifi here, at the camp store, but no mobile phone signal. If you need us, email us. But I make no guarantee we’ll get that, either.
Jacqueline wanted me to note also that Benjamin is already asleep, and went down with almost no fight. We have a great kid. But don’t tell him… it’ll go to his head.
With boots untied and a serious need to pee, I jogged past the visitor center, tripod tucked under my arm. I glanced at the time: 5:16 AM. I was hurrying to make it to Bright Angel Point, to watch the sun come up over the Grand Canyon. It was set to rise at 5:22. I got to a spot with a great view east and west, and set up the camera.
Then Marge showed up.
I shouldn’t know her name. I shouldn’t know that she has traveled to Africa and Alaska and the Alps. I also shouldn’t know that she has no desire to go to the Himalayas and that her favorite thing in the world is dessert in Italy.
I know all of that, from sitting about 30 feet from her watching the sun come up over the world’s most famous canyon.
That’s when it hit me. I am Marge. So caught up on myself and how cool I am that I can’t even enjoy what is going on in front of me. See, Marge didn’t come to the Grand Canyon to see the Grand Canyon. She came to the Grand Canyon to be able to later, sitting on a boat floating over the Great Barrier Reef, tell someone how beautiful the sun is when it comes up over the Grand Canyon.
And I do the same thing. In the first paragraph of this post I wanted you the reader to see how well traveled I am. I want to see the world, so that the world can see me. If I could figure out how to make it revolve around my shoulders, I would.
What a loss it would be to get to the end of my life, stand before Jesus, and tell him how many cities I have visitied, or how many pushups I can do, or how great my magnet collection is.
It’s my prayer that the gospel will continue to change me, and that someday I will actually be more about bringing God glory than about building my list of accomplishments.
But while we are on the subject of my accomplishments, and I can now claim to have peed into the Grand Canyon, just before sunrise.
Jacq asked me (in her “the answer to this question is ‘yes’” voice) if I would bathe the baby while she did some laundry. The Days Inn bathtub looked easy enough to navigate, and I already knew the answer to the question, so I agreed.
I must not have bathed the baby in a few months. Last time I was in charge of infant cleaning he was a much less mobile child. This time he constantly crawled from one end of the tub to the other. By God’s grace and my right forearm he avoided drowning.
Clean? no. Done bathing due to risk? Yes. I grabbed a towel and draped it over him, but couldn’t get it all the way around because he thought the wiggling game sounded fun. Jacqueline looked up from sorting the laundry and laughed. She didn’t help. She just laughed.
A naked, half-dry, squealing baby in one hand and a full bag of diapers in the other, I waddled toward the bed. I laid him on the ground and frantically tore at the sides of the bag. The guy in charge of packaging over at the Huggies plant must have never tried to get into one of these puppies while his child scampered naked across the hotel carpet.
By the time I
flung diapers all over the room opened the bag, LB was 25 feet away, diving head-first into our open luggage. All I needed now was for him to pee in our suitcase. Luckily, I jumped over Jacqueline’s piles of laundry and got to him in time to flop him onto his back and get a diaper at least 3/4 of the way on. Like a calf-roper on steroids, I felt a surge of relief at having avoided serious injury.
I glanced at Jacqueline who was trying unsuccessfully to hide her amusement. I collapsed on the couch and (in my “the answer to this question is ‘ok’” voice) said “He’s all yours.”