Maria Simon: First Days at the Grand Canyon

Day 2 at the North Rim


I arrived in gale force winds ( up to 70 mph) which roared around my cabin the first night here, and continued for another 24 hours. It more or less sailed me down the Transept Trail (right outside my little cabin’s door) next morning to the Grand Lodge. It’s sunny, still, and amazing now. Below freezing in the morning and after sunset, but no complaints here. I am in awe, or is it heaven, or are they both the same place?

I’m only able to get wi-fi in the administration building, where I now sit. So my emails and blog-posts will be every few days, instead of more often.



Aspen saplings and burnYesterday, on the return stretch of my hike, after leaving behind numerous friendly and interesting conversations along the trail, I stopped for a good while to just watch by myself, and realized how much these encounters can eclipse being present to place. It was at this point that the Canyon opened its heart to me, and I really arrived here. Save for night time, when I’m a little lonely, I’m having a wonderful time, and enjoying the solitude. I will have to be somewhat deliberate about when I engage with people, as I am most inclined to do, and when to eschew company.

Unexpectedly, I have to wear the NPS uniform, complete with Smokey the Bear hat, so people approach me readily, and it is quite fun to engage. Since day one, there are people from all over the world traveling, with English the second language! Wonderful that people just really want to know the world in this way, at whatever level they are able to experience it.

Sunrise, Pt. ImperialIt is good to begin to shed the mental buzz, and the compulsion to do everything, see everything, fill every moment. I have time, and am happy to move at my own slow pace. Gradually, I relax into being more of my real self. The deep downward pull of the canyon invites one deep down into One Self. I am so lucky to be able to do this.

On my way back from watching the sun rise at Point Imperial this morning, I stopped to look at the frosty grass back-lit in a meadow, and communed with a coyote much more interested in putting his nose down a jackrabbit burrow, than the likes of me. And then a beautiful Kaibab squirrel hopping around outside my cabin. They are black, with red backs, and elegant, long, bushy, white tails and ears that stick straight up. Very shy.


Looking Down as far as I canI have no ideas whatsoever as far as my artwork is concerned. Appropriate more to let the Canyon work its magic. Someone asked me last night, as we were watching the sunset if the Canyon intimidates me as an artist. I would say yes, absolutely. Places like this bring us to our knees. There is no human alive or dead who could come close to whatever/whoever creates places like the Grand Canyon and Bryce, etc. To generate now would be arrogant, at best. Time to   Behold.       Relinquish.      Receive.

The work will arrive later, on its own steam. I am not worried at all.

Fall at the Rim-quakeig aspen