The helicopter engine increased in speed and I felt my heart racing trying to catch up until the throbbing engine and my racing heart were almost in unison. I was about to realise a dream I had held for over 35 years. I never really imagined I would ever be enclosed inside this vehicle which would take me to see my dream. It was almost magical. The sense of occasion was extraordinary. To be here. To be so close, yet I still couldn't see the object of my imagination. Trees. Acres and acres of trees sweeping below appearing as a worn carpet would look with a dusty track ripped across the landscape to allow access for those going by land-based transport. Looking out of the side window at the rear of the helicopter gave a view that promised great things, but I still couldn't see what I had come here for. Trees and still more trees. This threadbare green blanket was everywhere. It just added to the mystery I had harboured for so many years. Was it real? Had I only imagined this place existed? I had seen photographs. I had read written texts describing what to expect. But where is it? Starting out only a few days before, I had travelled many thousands of miles, yet it had really taken so many years to get to this place. The realisation of a dream that refused to happen. Was my imagination cheating me? Did this place exist after all? Was it all just an elaborate conspiracy to separate me from my money?
The throbbing of the engine continued unchanged. The view below continued unchanged. The green floor extended into the distance to the horizon to meet a clear blue sky. The combination of a cloudless sky above with just trees below and the relentless sound of the helicopter engine was almost hypnotic and I was beginning to feel drowsy. Was this to be the realisation of my dream? To be no more than a dream? Suddenly, I noticed a bright glow on the distant horizon. A crucible of light in the centre of the horizon. It slowly brightened. Getting bigger. Getting closer. The white heat of my dream reaching out to me, sucking me into it. Welcoming me. I found it disturbing. To me this was the unknown, but soon to become the known. To transport me in an instant from dreams to reality. To give me something I had desired for so many years. More than half my lifetime on planet Earth to see something that had existed since time began. The helicopter reached the edge of the North Rim. My heart nearly leapt out of my mouth, but I caught my breath and rescued my heart. The plunge below was unimaginable. The trees had suddenly disappeared to be replaced by a spectacle almost not of this Earth. Almost.
The Grand Canyon is real. Several miles across and more than a mile to the bottom below. Over 5000 feet below the great Colorado River snaked its way into the distance, looking like nothing more than a single strand of cotton, the fierce rapids seemingly quite tame from this distance. An illusion. Simply an illusion.
It was all so overwhelming it was almost a disappointment. This was too much to take in at first sight. The size and splendour. The majesty. Awesome isn't a word that does the scene justice. It's so much more than that. The peace and serenity. The calm. The trees and greenery were left behind as the flight went out into the void. Over this vastness and into a tapestry of reds and oranges. So many shades of these two colours in the mid-day sun. I could only imagine the colours at dusk mixing in hundreds of shades of blues, violets and indigos. I silently promised to make a return visit. A second chance to take in the scene. Maybe even a third or fourth. I felt that a thousand visits would never be enough. My dream has only been partially satisfied as the Grand Canyon is just so vast. I must return to see it again. To see just a little bit more of this fabulous sight. It's truly one sight that has to be experienced to be understood. It cannot be described. It must be felt.
I will feel the Grand Canyon again.
© Louis Brothnias (2004)