It was a beautiful morning in November: the sun was shining and the sky blue. The wind however was relentless; harsh and so unpredictable that one wrong step… well, it quickly becomes a case of wrong place, wrong time – the bottom of the Canyon.
What started off as me admiring from a distance quickly turned into an adventure, somewhat a test of wills. I found a spot that was sort of daring but still very comfortable. Crawling on all fours to avoid any freak accidents, I edged closer. A few minutes later (and with new found bravery) I found another spot – one more daring and much less comfortable. Before I knew it my legs were dangling off the edge of the Grand Canyon – the bloody Grand Canyon. I became those ‘people’ that I previously laughed and pointed at less than 30 minutes ago. I turned from being the gawker to being gawked at.
“We are so curious about death that we have to face it…even if it is fleeting, even if it is only for a nanosecond”
At first, your heart beats at the sheer magnificence of it all. Your palms sweat and you shake at the thought of getting within a yard of that edge. You gawk at those sitting at the edge of the Grand Canyon and shake your head in disbelief. Thoughts like: they must not love their life; only crazy people do sh*t like that; and I’ll admire it from afar, spring to mind. But the more time you spend in view of the Canyon; the more time you spend looking at the edge, the closer and closer you find yourself getting to it. It draws you in, whispering.
It was a risk each time I found a new daring place to sit. So why did I take solace every time the wind blew? Why was it so exhilarating? And why have I never felt more at peace despite the fear of possibly being blown to smithereens?
The adrenaline in my system was something I could not ignore. I realised then that you cannot be under the influence of adrenaline and have thoughts consumed by something else. Adrenaline equals presence and the Grand Canyon had my full attention. In those moments, you are completely and utterly alive in that situation, whether you are in fight or flight mode, you are present!
I sat, taking in the mesmerising views and as the wind gave its hardest blow it brought with it thoughts and ideas, I was inspired. With each change in wind came a new insight. I thought about fear: real and simulated. Such a funny thing this thing called fear. Despite how frightened we are, I wondered what makes us want to get closer and look down? What is this intrigue? I think deep down we are so curious about death that we have to face it…even if it is fleeting, even if it is only for a nanosecond. Maybe the closer and closer we get to that point the more we realise how alive we are. The universe works in paradoxes, to appreciate life you have to appreciate that you can lose it.
I guess this is the stuff you think about when you’re sitting on the edge of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.