A golden sunset at the Grand Canyon
Golden Rule Moments
Kendra Ruth Guest columnist
We aren’t always able to see eye to eye. That’s part of being human, right?
But there are those moments, those Golden Moments when suddenly there is connection, harmony and peace.
One day, I decided on a whim to drive to the Grand Canyon. I’d been struggling with certain painful memories and processing the aftermath of COVID-19 in our nation. It was a heaviness that I wanted to release into the Canyon’s depths. Upon arriving, my mind gravitated to a pleasant memory from my last visit to the Canyon. It involved laughing with strangers and huddling closely together while we waited in line. It had been a very cold day. After recalling this memory, I realized how few people there were visiting that day in contrast and how we were all distanced and enduring a colossal heat.
The clouds, however, seemed to consider our situation favorably, for as the sun’s blazing rays seemed unbearable, they were suddenly intercepted by cool and protective cloud coverage.
Along the Rim, there is a path called the Rim Trail. It is wheelchair-accessible, which enables all visitors to stroll along with a constant view of the Canyon’s beauty. I’d been off to a late start that day and though my time was limited, I decided that it would benefit my heart greatly to walk the trail. As I did, I saw couples walking hand in hand, friends laughing in shared experiences and children begging for attention from their parents. Photographers were also busy portraying the vastness of the Canyon through their own unique lenses. I was witnessing such sweet interactions that they turned my mind to the beauty of humanity instead of the initial heaviness I had felt. That’s when it happened, a Golden Moment and experience I’ll never forget.
In the distance, I saw people walking hastily with their cameras, both the young and the old, gathering at some seemingly planned celebration or timed event. As I rounded another ruin, I saw another family dashing to the Rim, cameras in hand. What happened next is what I now supposed to be a sacred and daily occurrence at the Grand Canyon . It was a gathering of picnic blankets and kisses, families nestled
closely together, heads inclined onto each other’s shoulders, tripods set to perfection and a centralized focus on the horizon. It seemed like everyone I’d witnessed throughout the day was there. It was time for the sun to set.
As it timelessly touched the Rim, we were all being glazed in its magnificent colors. Collectively, we remained silent as the sun calmly performed this daily ritual. I looked around and noticed the expressions on people’s faces, so many smiles and peaceful demeanors. At that point, the sun had completely disappeared, and yet the light still reflected off the clouds, fragmenting for a final show of color. I remembered how those were the same clouds that had sheltered us from the sun earlier that day — all of us.
Then, just like that, time sped back up again. A child perched up on a rock nearby started to clap and many of us joined in. It felt like we were thanking the sun for its amazing performance here at the Grand Canyon. As the communal spot began to clear, with people picking up blankets and counting children, I thought how that sunset and the Canyon had brought us all together. It was magical to me because it didn’t matter our background, our personal beliefs, the color of our skin, or our country of origin, just a feeling of oneness. I left that day changed.
Kendra Ruth is the AGREE development/ school liaison.
PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2020 The Arizona Republic 8/13/2020