Seeking Simplicity on the Rim of the Grand Canyon

Maybe I want to work at the Grand Canyon because I’m in search of simplicity.  I want to escape this world of infinite access to all things.  I don’t want to be tethered to the internet twenty-four hours a day.  I don’t want people to be able to call me wherever I go whenever they want.  I want to feel lonely.  I want the freedom of isolation, the freedom to constrain myself and disconnect from the noise of the twenty-first century.  When you can do anything, when you can find pleasure, satisfy your most idiosyncratic curiosities, and indulge your every whim with the click of a button, do you really gain freedom?  What is freedom of choice when the act of choosing becomes effortless, so that one choice is no better than another? 

I want to sit over the rim of the canyon and cast my gaze at its hundreds of red islands that rise out of the dark shadows of the earth.  I want to rejoice in the knowledge that except for my friends and my family, and anyone who happens to read this blog, nobody in the world knows where I am.  Nobody knows that I’ve fallen in love with a shaft of light cutting through the clouds that glide over the canyon.  Nobody knows that in that shaft of light I find justification for my existence and compensation for my aching knees that prevent me from hiking to the bottom of this majestic canyon.  Nobody knows that in the curtain of rain I see far in the distance I read an explanation for why the world is the way it is, why on the one hand people suffer while on the other light breaks through these dark clouds and softens the jagged edges of the canyon below, paints its skin red, orange and yellow, and here and there dabs specs of green to signify the life that thrives in its cracks and folds. 

Canyonlands National Park--not the "Grand Canyon," but part of the same system of canyons carved by the Colorado River

The Grand Canyon

About atomsofthought
Photographer. Traveler. Writer. Reader.

34 Responses to Seeking Simplicity on the Rim of the Grand Canyon

  1. Frank Volenik says:

    Keep seeking….the journey is what it is all about. Experienced uniquely, each his own, each a special path. No textbooks on this one, and I still run from the one’s claiming to have the answer. Eric Hoffer writes so directly.

    The Passionate State of Mind, “It sometimes seems that our most persistent and passionate effort is to convince the world that we are not what we really are. God alone is satisfied with what He is and can proclaim: “I am what I am.” Unlike God, man strives with all his might to be what he is not. He incessantly proclaims: “I am what I am not.”

    I don’t know Nick, but somehow I have the feeling you are taking the steps to that “freedom”, and oh how liberating that is! You are so perfect because you are so real…so true! Keep following your passions!

    • Mr Volenik, I love that quote. I hope I’m taking those steps. It’s a halting process and you’re never sure which direction you’re going. Sometimes I feel like the drunk man in the thought experiment where he takes random steps, beginning at a street lamp, not knowing where he’s going, yet eventually he ends up a predictable distance from where he started. There’s an equation that describes it. I LOVE that idea.

      Thank you for commenting! You’re one of the most encouraging people I’ve met in my life 🙂

  2. Pamanner says:

    Beautiful, all of it. I wish you happiness, peace, contentment, and quiet!

  3. Laiima says:

    I don’t know how you found me (my blog), but I’m glad you did, because now I’ve found your blog, and you sound like my kind of person. I look forward to reading more your archives, and whatever you write in the future.

  4. Laiima says:

    I created a new category on my blog roll for your blog, which made me realize I need more (fellow) philosophers in my life.

  5. mmews says:

    Sigh! Lovely. Absolutely lovely. Your writing is like a drink of fresh, clear water…and I’ve been thirsty. Thank you.

  6. motoguzzimomma says:

    Aren´t there some great places on this beautiful earth? Enjoyed reading this very much. And thanks for `liking´ mine – it led me to here 🙂

  7. Beautiful images. It shames me to say I have never seen the Grand Canyon. I sense a summer road trip in my near future.

  8. changingmoods says:

    Wow, what a beautiful sentiment. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say in future posts. I subscribed!

  9. Steve Bromley says:

    I’ve seen instances of the remote shaft of light and the curtain of rain of which you write so eloquently.

    I can’t wait to hear your musings on all of the new discoveries you will make during your time along the rim.

  10. skippingstones says:

    I like this. In a way, our instant access to everything is like a prison. Even the phrase “plugged in” suggests a tether. My grandparents used to sit on lawn chairs in the front yard in the evening. They weren’t “glued to” the television or ‘wired” to anything else of an electronic nature. As for me, I get separation anxiety if I don’t have my android phone with me.

    Your imagery is lovely and it reminds me what can be gained from sitting quietly and observing the world be what it is.

  11. anda says:

    I just re-read this and could so identify with the hunger for simplicity–to escape the prison of all these crazy attachments that are the opposite of abundance. Then read the blog that followed about suffering and joy. Beautifull. Your compassion brought tears to my eyes. Your type of wrtiing is what is best about the blogosphere.. Glad I found your blog! I’m going to add it to my blog roll.

    Yogi the dog and Anda

  12. l0ve0utl0ud says:

    Absolutely breathtaking post and photos!

  13. Penny says:

    I have never been to the “Grand Canyon’, did fly over the canyons! Beautiful photos-your writing is good and I like reading your stories.

  14. rggs says:

    quote : ” What is freedom of choice when the act of choosing becomes effortless, so that one choice is no better than another? ”

    Simply beautiful.

  15. i was in CA this month and i fully intended to go to the canyon, yet never made it. so jealous of you!

  16. nobody in the world knows where I am.

    Well-stated. And we can communicate only part of what we are, what we experience.

    Dare I say it- those are grand pictures.

  17. Hi Atoms –

    You write very well. You said, “I want the freedom of isolation, the freedom to constrain myself and disconnect from the noise of the twenty-first century.”

    Your blog reminds me of wintertime in Chicago, snow falling hard and piling up, midnight, and all are sound asleep or surfing the net. Then there’s me. Outside in the elements, shoveling the clean white glistening snow from my driveway. Serene and alone, it’s really special and stress-relieving from the hubbub of 21st century life. Not many take the time to enjoy and experience that perfect scenario.

    I really appreciate your writing, thank you. 🙂

    • Hi Charlie!

      Thank you so much for your comment! I love Chicago. My parents are from Michigan, lived in Chicago for a couple of years, and all of us have passed through there various times over the decades. I’ve never seen it in winter (except maybe during a quick layover), but I can imagine how beautiful it must be. I grew up in Texas, and it wasn’t until I spent a winter in Madison, Wisconsin, that I fully understood the peace and quiet that winter can lay down over a place. Shoving snow turned out to be quite an invigorating and, as you said, “serene” task, at least for one winter 🙂


  18. i am addict says:

    it feels nice to get lonely sometimes, your going to realize the importance of your family and friends,.

  19. Canyonlands, North Dakota, Monument Valley, Montana . . . Some of my favorite places on earth. I always feel most my true self when I’m in those desolate locales–and I feel anything but alone. I feel connected and alive and rejuvenated, and for some reason everything makes sense. Love the beautiful photos and the writing.

    • So true! There’s something about all of that emptiness, and allowing it to empty your mind of confusion and anxiety. It’s like it all flows out of you into your surroundings. Thank you for stopping by!

  20. Patti Ross says:

    Magnificent–all of it, The Grand Canyon, your blog, the solitude and insights that come from reflection. Thanks for sharing. A couple of my blog entries danced around comparable topics. Your post reminds me of the following quote: “Few things under heaven are as instructive as the lessons of Silence.” –Tao Te Ching

  21. Pingback: I don’t need no stinking cell phone! Do I? | Let me ask you this…

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