Sunday, August 8, 2010

Joey Returns - A Guest Post


(Despite his utter disdain for the blogging community, my son Joey decided to take me up on my standing offer to guest post on this blog following his recent vacation. Be sure not to miss the heart-stopping video at the end.)

The Grand Canyon




About a week before I was due to arrive at the Grand Canyon, my brother and I discussed whether or not to make a brocho on this natural wonder. We both found rabbonim who discussed the issue and held that a brocho should be made, but a definitive source could not be found. And so the question of making a brocho on the Grand Canyon remained somewhat up in the air.

Until I saw it.

The day started with a lengthy bus drive out to the desert. A stop at the Hoover Dam, no small sight in its own right, helped alleviate some of the boredom. On the way, we were shown a video of the formation and history of the Grand Canyon. The attempts made by the narrator to make the Canyon's development sound like a natural and scientific process seemed almost laughable. The complexity and sheer beauty of almost the entire landmark was shouting that something bigger than science was at work here. And that was only after seeing just video and pictures.

There's an old saying - "There are no atheists in foxholes." I think that there are no atheists at the Grand Canyon either, so long as you're willing to open your eyes.

We arrived in Grand Canyon National Park around midday. Dropped off at a lodge inside the park, we were told to go through the back where we would find one of the most popular vistas for viewing the canyon; a wonderful place to see it for the first time.

I will never forget how I felt walking out that back door. I have seen the Swiss Alps, the New York Skyscrapers, the wildlife of California and the beaches of Florida. None of it can compare to the awe inspiring and majestic Canyon. I've heard and read many times about people's breath catching in their throat but I've never had it happen to me like it did at that moment. The question of making a brocho was answered in my mind in the blink of an eye, and I didn't hesitate to
take advantage. Words, like pictures and video, cannot come close to doing the Grand Canyon justice. Every color, cliff, crevice and light shift brought a new view and a new perspective. It is impossible to have "seen" the Grand Canyon because there are an infinite amount of ways to see it. Nothing made by man can ever compare. It is a gift from above and a peek into the wonder that Hashem can bestow on us.

When Theodore Roosevelt saw the Canyon, he ordered that nothing was to be done to improve it. This is one creation that cannot be improved and it would be folly to even contemplate trying.

There was something about that place that makes one want to experience as much of it as one can. And so I climbed. Every cliff and edge had a better view than the last. Hopefully you can see some of the pictures and video I took on some of the more precarious places. Let's just say that if my mom knew just how close to the edge I was getting she would not be thrilled. But I couldn't help it. Being out on those edges in those surroundings was an unimaginable rush. I just had to make sure not to shake too much when I got nervous.

An old Native American poet once wrote "We can embrace that which we know to be beautiful even if we cannot understand what makes it so." But we do know. We do understand. We can appreciate the Grand Canyon knowing that it was the work of Heaven and Heaven alone.

That's the true brocho of the Grand Canyon.




(G6 talking: .... and just in case anybody out there doesn't know where mother's gray hairs come from.........)





23 comments:

BLD said...

Birkas Hagomel would be more in order! Hope he makes it home in 1 piece!

tembow said...

wow! now i want to go!!

Eli said...

G6- I was so nervous and scared i couldn't watch the whole video.

cuzzin buzzin said...

that stone piece at the end looks like it broke off once already, bad glue job...

magnificent pics

G6 said...

{insert Jewish Mother's Voice here:}
"You *SEE* what I've had to go through for the past twenty plus years?!??!?"

efrex said...

I guess I shouldn't show you my friends' rock climbing or BASE jumping videos, eh? :)

Something Different said...

Wow! Wow! I want to go there! Gorgeous. ANd beautiful post, very inspiring.

And message for Joey: I hope you appreciate that you can actually SHOW that to your mother. Mine would have died halfway through. ANd come back as a ghost to kill ME for doing that...and videoing it.

Staying Afloat said...

a) Joey, thank you so much for sharing both the pictures and your words.
b) That video... I could feel myself heart-attacking right there. But at the same time really wanting to do that. How do you not drop the camera?

Mystery Woman said...

I couldn't see the video (Jnet blocks them). But the pictures are amazing. Just glad that's YOUr son. :)

Mother said...

I'm not (or think not) an overbearing mother but this is why i can't just let my teenage kids do whatever they want.

ProfK said...

Admit that when we were there I was waaaay to chicken to get out on those ledges and love the pictures Joey took. That said, I am so thankful it was yours out there not mine--don't think the heart could have taken it. They don't warn you about this in the "mother's manual" when you're expecting.

Anonymous said...

I'm a guy and even I got nervous.

daughtersintheparsha said...

teen? he's almost 22!

my mother still doesn't let me use her electric meat knife

Joey said...

Self-defense comment:

Sure, it was scary but I did go on my knees at the really narrow part. Besides, haven't you ever wanted to do something adventurous? If you don't push the limits of what you can do and where you can go, you'll never know what your capable of.

Thanks for all the kind words, and yes mom, I'll think before I do something that stupid next time...

G6 said...

G6/Mom responds:

You saved yourself with that last line Joey, because I was about to comment thusly -

"If you don't push the limits of what you can do and where you can go, you'll never know what your capable of."

Great! So now you've proved that you're capable of something incredibly STUPID!!
As Daddy would say, "Mach Shabbos Davon"...(a German euphemism on the order of "That and a token will get you on the subway"....)

efrex said...

Okay, so let me rise in defense of Joey's actions:

This was not an act of reckless stupidity; it was an act of facing one's fears. The rock ledge was not going to collapse, Joey is a healthy sober adult with a reasonable sense of balance and center of gravity, and he took reasonable precautions for the risks he was facing. Every day, all around you, people regularly work in cranes, on rooftops, in window ledges, in the middle of vehicle traffic; horrible accidents can and do happen, but they are few and far between. Gaining experience means taking risks.

I wasn't joking about having friends who rock climb and BASE jump (look up the latter, if you're unfamiliar with the term). These are people who believe in stretching themselves to their limits, and I can assure you that they do more to ensure their safety on a rock face than any of us do when we drive a car: equipment is double-checked, partners, routes, and contingency plans are arranged, and hundreds of hours of training and practice are logged before a lead climb is attempted.

Now I personally am not going to try canyon jumping with a wingsuit (The Lovely Wife(tm) would kill me, have me resurrected, divorce me, and kill me again), but the vast majority of people who engage in these activities are neither needlessly reckless nor stupid, and neither was Joey.

(and there go MY chances of another shabbat invitation...)

Rivki said...

Gray hairs, indeed! Scary video aside, this was such a nice post! Thanks for sharing the nice thoughts and the gorgeous photos. I definitely want to take a trip to see it in "real life!"

G6 said...

Something Different, who for some unknown reason has gotten "blog shy" lately, sent me this link.

Joey informed me that his video was taken at the same Mather Point as this accident. Guess I should be glad this happened after he got HOME.....

Shosh said...

ok i couldnt watch that video it was too terrifying. is this what its like when kids get older? I dont think i can handle it!!!!

BLD said...

It is Mach Shabbos Der Fun: Make Shabbos from it.
Great pitures - You go Yossi!

Something Different said...

Something Different isn't blog shy. She does the majority of her blog and article reading on her iPod touch, which makes commenting kind if hard. You may notice that she already commented on this post.
She also looked for the chick pea post to tell the world how it's her new favorite food, but she couldn't find the right post.

Also, this is such awesome thanks for sending you an article, I'll be sure and send em daily. :-P

And my word verification is chewin, which I thought you'd find funny. ;-)

D B said...

Something Different

If you want to know the official word for word verification you should ask joey i don't think he will ever forget.

G6 said...

D B -

ROTFL!!!