Thoughts and queries on our trip to Grand Canyon

You might be thinking to yourself, “What a fricken buzz kill this Rene is. Why doesn’t he just enjoy the beauty around him while he’s miles from civilization?”

To which I ask, why does one go on such trips?

Some go on “vacation” to sit in a hotel room drunk off their rocker. Occasionally, they’ll venture off into the strip malls around whatever hotel they’re staying in. For many that’s fine. These sorts of vacations are for those who hate their jobs and come home exhausted and hating life. Their vacations are trips to escape the world they feel trapped inside with no control over what happens to them.

Since we love our jobs and generally enjoy life as a whole, our vacations are more like trips than what others consider a vacation. Our trips are a time for searching for new things to see, learning new stuff, and of course, my nerdy favorite, soul searching.

This most recent trip was a very eye-opening experience for several reasons.

First, I learned that I love nature and solitude. If I believed in God and Jesus and all that came with it, I would drop everything and become a Franciscan Monk, traveling the world helping those less fortunate and finding happiness and perfection in everywhere I went. Hence, I need my own Walden Pond with which to gain such solitude. After that, I can figure out how to help others less fortunate.

Second, we learned that we love the benefits of serious hiking but we are too wet behind the ears and just generally too city-slicker to perform the hikes we WANT to do. Note to self: grow a pair and just hike. We may end up THOSE hikers who require rescue…or worse. But we’d have had fun.

Third, people require very little when it comes to recreating history in the winner’s favor and people care very little for things they do not understand…or care to understand. This is the conclusion to all the grumbling you’ve read in the last few posts.

Ideas of what identity is, who’s history matters, where identity comes from, and how we view ourselves and others, was what I studied in graduate school. I understand why it happens, how it happens, the outcomes from when it happens. Still, no matter how often I see it up close and personal, it floors me.

We use words like “Navajo” which means “thief of cultivated land”, we call ancient cities “ruins”, as late as the 1960’s US citizens made natives wrestle for silver dollars, the US govt kicked natives off their land to allow businessmen to graze cattle and kill the land, US citizens call the parks “national monuments” and I heard more than one patron to the park call it “their canyon…that they shouldn’t be here” (referring to what they assumed were Mexicans).

This is why I write the fiction I write. I hope at least one person reads my stories and thinks to themselves “Wait a second, I do that…I’m a dick!!!! But I can change…” I don’t expect the world to change overnight. Frankly, I don’t expect the world to change…period. But that doesn’t mean I should stand back and watch people act as they do.

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