After driving nearly two hours from Flagstaff, and circling three parking lots to find a parking space, I was eager to get to the nearest viewing point to get my first look at the Grand Canyon. I battled with Benny at every light post and shrub and park bench — places he found infinitely interesting. The harder I pulled, the harder he pulled back!
Come ON, Benny! Let’s go see the Canyon! Wait, Mom! There’s something AWESOME to smell here! I was frustrated with him, and anxious about how he would act around so many people. Would he bark and lunge at them like he does on our walks at home? Would he try to bite some child that ran up to him? My mind was racing with what ifs. Meanwhile, there were people meandering in every direction, some with little kids, some with other dogs, most walking too slowly without apparent direction and taking up too much space. The noon sun was blazing hot even against the cold breeze sweeping up from the canyon.
The fast driving, the slow walking, the anticipation… surely Benny can’t pee anymore! And, I was a little hungry!
I was kind of out of my mind. I was definitely out of the present moment.
When we finally got to the Rim Trail and I got my first glimpse of the canyon, there were so many people I couldn’t find a good spot at the rail. And I was still worried about Benny reacting to other people. My impulse was to keep moving.
We walked a couple hundred agitated yards and then Benny stopped. He pulled me over to a level rock outcropping where there were no people and just stood there. He looked up at me with such love. I sat down and he got into my lap and just looked at me for a minute, as if to say, “Mama, slow down. You’re missing it!”
I felt so much love for him in that moment. So I held him in my lap and we sat together there for a while, until my mind slowed down and I could just enjoy being in this place, this stunningly beautiful and ancient and mysterious place.
Traveling with Benny often means making some adjustments to accommodate the pace he wants to take. Once I get into his rhythm, we have a fine time.
After our little rest, Benny took me on about a five mile hike along the Rim Trail. We stopped a lot to “smell” things… and that was just perfect. Every time he stopped was a reminder for me to pause, take a breath, and ENJOY the view. We only saw a tiny portion of the Canyon, and only from the rim, but the experience transformed me, even if just for that moment. Energetically ascendant, I felt my imagination soar. The spirit of the place enraptured me. I know that sounds melodramatic! But, it was like taking speed (or what I imagine taking speed would be like!) It made me want to go go go, and I felt (and feel) a strong NEED to… make art, to manifest this feeling somehow in something concrete, something tangible. Perhaps, to leave my mark…