Samuel and Michelle joined Caitlin, Barbie and me as we explored on foot, by car and on mules. I know my limitations and I knew climbing back to the rim after descending 1800 vertical feet into the canyon would be better accomplished on the back of a mule. However, my mule, Fred, had a penchant for walking to the edge of the trail with his head hanging over the cliff and his hooves 4 inches away from oblivion. I was left to trust his experience and sure-footedness.
Barbie had a mission to photograph all of the varied wildflowers she could find. As I waited under a grove of quaking aspens, the only sound was the rustling of the winds through the leaves. The canopy flickered like silver-green coins falling from the sky (Michelle's metaphor) and I thought, "There must be at least 10 words to describe this experience." Unfortunately, the language containing such descriptors does not yet exist. I would need a single word that both invokes the simultaneous perception of four senses while capturing the rapture exerted upon the soul by its witness. In English peacefulness is a good word.
Thursday we travelled north to see Jeremy and Alexandria who now live near Salt Lake City and on Saturday attended the wedding of my niece, Michelle.
All of the above mentioned experiences would not have been possible were it not for the tragic loss and subsequent sacrifice of Shane and his family. My thoughts are with him, his parents and sister. I am humbled to know that this difficult experience for them has allowed me to experience so much. It was two years ago today that his shared heart became part of me; allowing my eyes to see, my hands to serve and my memory to rejoice in such a gift of life. I again would appeal to that same yet to be discovered language to convey my overwhelming sense of gratitude to those that have saved my life through faith and science, but, alas, it may only be that those who see the light of hope in my eyes will sense what cannot be uttered.
Two years ago, as I lay in the hospital recovering, I thought of all of the places I have been in my life. "I have travelled the world," I thought, "But I have never been to the Grand Canyon, a great symbol of America's beauty." I made it my goal to visit as soon as I could. At my 2nd annual heart biopsy, the nurse practitioner said that I shouldn't travel above 3000 feet without acclimating. Here I was, hiking up a hill at 9000 feet with Caitlin at my side. As we approached the top of a particularly steep incline I commented, "I can't believe I did this." Fours seconds and 13 rapids breaths later I continued, "I can't believe I did this well!"