“And America undressed herself in front of our eyes”
As I look upon the Little Colorado River Gorge, a song is stuck in my head…Chadwick Stokes of Dispatch fame wrote the song “Adelaide” about a trip he took across America by rail with his brother. His words possess a great sense of visual imagery and I can feel the late day sunlight on my face as the words run through my head and we follow his trek across Northern Arizona on the BNSF line as it crosses the Little Colorado.
“She was dangling her legs over the little Colorado river
Catching the last bit of sunlight in all of Arizona
Told me, Arizona told me.
So I asked her if she wanted to fly
If maybe she needed a ride
Anywhere at all”
The gorge is the first startling crease in the earth that we see as we prepare ourselves for the spectacle of the Grand Canyon. We may mistake it for part of the Grand Canyon National Park, but this area is part of the Navajo Nation and the park is actually known as the Little Colorado River Tribal Park. To follow through on his imagery, this scene becomes all the more awe-inspiring when we think of our land (and earth) as a living being undressing itself to reveal its mysteries to us…if we are willing to take the risk of exploring and embracing her…I forget what the map says and I look to the harmonious flow of water and light across the landscape as they shape and reveal its very nature to us.