Fall in the Four Corners
Oh yes, fall is in the air. Football lights, cross country meets, volleyball tournaments, pumpkins blushing orange, and cooling temperatures when the sun goes down. Kids going back to school in new clothes with their backpacks full of essential school stuff like facemasks, hand sanitizer, non-touch thermometers, latex gloves, and self-contained breathing apparati.
Fall in the Four Corners can’t be beat. There’s no better place.
Kay Shumway once told me that he told his wife he would take her anywhere in the world so long as it was in San Juan County.
I supposed he was kidding with me. But after traveling all around this country I think it might be a good idea, although I would probably expand the area some.
Since 2020 is the weirdest year ever, I decided that perhaps I should start by facing my fears. I went straight to ground zero: Corona Arch. Don’t worry, I could find no evidence that the Coronavirus started at Corona Arch.
Having been born and raised here, I am somewhat of a “red-rock-snob,” which means when tourists are gawking and oohing and awing trying to take the perfect selfie, I, yawning, say, “Oh whatever dude, I’ve seen better!
“When I was in scouts, we used to base jump off things way higher than this with nothing on but a smile and sheet for a parachute. For reals!”
My too-kind-and-loving wife agrees with the snob part and says recognizing our imperfections is the best way to start making a better version of ourselves.
But she also says I don’t play well with others, can’t control my mouth, and could be likable if I would just follow her ten-point program, which she has conveniently put on a Powerpoint and emailed to me.
But here I am at Corona Arch with all my new friends. Some might call them tourists but my too-kind-and-loving wife says a stranger is another chance for me to make a new friend.
Corona Arch is in the Navajo Sandstone and is well over 140 feet wide and 100 feet high. Many have called it the Little Rainbow Bridge, truly a masterpiece.
I am feeling humbled and inspired, almost at peace contemplating how we are so small compared to the grand universe.
I am looking up thinking to myself, “Self, this is pretty dang nice. I wonder how long the Great Architect of the Universe took to build this Little Rock Rainbow, just so He could touch my soul and inspire me...to remind me that I am not alone in the universe but part of a much larger cause.
“That I am here to feel love towards my fellowman and serve him with a loftiness of spirit enabling me to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness and to display a noble generosity.”
Yup, all of that fluttered through my mind like a butterfly landing on a flower.
But, that isn’t what was coming out of my mouth. It sounded more like, “Hey! You! Buddy! Can you and the missus and those rug-rats get the *^$*&^# out of the way so I can take my picture?
“You think I got all day to wait for you to ooh and aww? It’s just a friggin’ big red rock that took four billion years to carve out. I’m sure almost anybody could make this delicate arch-thing which seemingly is able to ignore gravity and inspire the soul.
“But can’t you hurry up some? Maybe you can contemplate how you might be a better version of yourself out of my picture frame.”
My too-kind-and-loving wife whacks me on the forehead and smiles at the tourist. “What he means is that this sure is a beautiful arch and we’re happy to just sit here and calmly wait while you and your cute little family enjoy this moment.
“Please take your time; we live here so we don’t mind you taking this time to really enjoy all of this. Besides, we have all the time in the world and can come back any ol’ time.”
I’m about to offer some clarification to my new friend and offer my assistance on ways he could hurry along, but my too-kind-and-loving wife glares at me out of the corner of her eye, much like she does with her third-graders who aren’t wearing their facemask properly.
With a pinch on my arm and her smile, I waived to my new friend which let him know I fully supported her version of what I said and to please take his time and enjoy this moment – at least as much as I was.