Surprised by Unexpected Beauty
Although Zion National Park offers stunningly deep canyons, famous peaks and terrific hiking, canyoning and climbing, my favorite moment came one evening after dark. It is probably my favorite because it was totally unexpected. I like to be surprised. I like a moment when my breath is taken away by unexpexted beauty. When that happens, it feels like a special gift. When it occurs in nature it feels like I am blessed beyond measure to be in the right place at the right time to take in a sight that will never be repeated in exactly the same way. In Zion I had one of those once-in-a-lifetime gift experiences when we came out of the lodge after the evening ranger led program. It was late, the baby had fallen asleep on my lap and I was just expecting to head to the car, get all the kids buckled in and head back to the campground. As we exited the lodge and walked across the big lawn towards our car we happened to look up. Directly across from the lodge the full moon’s glowing light was reflecting off the sheer cliff walls that make up the peaks of The Court of the Patriarchs. They seemed to be the face of the moon dropped in our laps. They rose dramatically into the black night sky that is only found so far from cities. We all stood mesmerized on the lawn that dark fall night and just drank it in. Somehow the dark of the night and the light of the moon had transformed the peaks that seemed so rooted, so grounded each day, into something ethereal. I don’t know how long we stood there but I remember I never wanted to leave. We tried to capture the majesty with our camera but all attempts failed. Sometimes you just have to be there. I guess that is why we go to national parks, why we take our kids. Photos in books and online, videos and movies-none of those can compare to being there.