Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon

by Joshua on June 18, 2014

From “Midnight On The Desert” by J.B. Priestly, 1937

I have heard rumors of visitors who were disappointed. The same people will be disappointed at the Day of Judgment. In fact, the Grand Canyon is a sort of landscape Day of Judgment. It is not a show place, a beauty spot, but a revelation.

The Colorado River, which is powerful, turbulent and so thick with silt that it is like a saw, made it with the help of the erosive forces of rain, frost, and wind, and some strange geological accidents; and all these together have been hard at work on it for the last 7 or 8 million years.

It is the largest of the 18 canyons of the Colorado River, is over 200 miles long, has an average width of 12 miles and is a good mile deep. It is the world’s supreme example of erosion. But this is not what it really is. It is, I repeat, a revelation.

The Colorado River made it, but you feel when you are there that God gave the Colorado River its instructions. It is all Beethoven’s nine symphonies in stone and magic light. Even to remember that it is still there lifts up the heart.

If I were an American, I should make my remembrance of it the final test of men, art, and policies. I should ask myself: Is this good enough to exist in the same country as the Canyon? How would I feel about this man, this kind of art, these political measures, if I were near that rim? Every member or officer of the Federal Government ought to remind himself, with triumphant pride, that he is on the staff of the Grand Canyon.

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