Anatomy of a Composition, part 5

Grand Canyon Sunset

This was the third phase of the sunset, on June 8th, 2017 at Yavapai Point, along the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is truly that, “grand!”  It is a place that deserves our time, and attention. It is a place that deserves to be part of anyone’s “grand adventure.” When I was sitting here creating watching the sky transform,  I can recall thinking about Andrew and Tanner and the “grand adventure” that they had taken to Southern California.

Grand Canyon Sunset, part 3 – Shot with a Sony a7r using the Zeiss FE 2470/F4 ZA lens.
EXIF data: ISO 50 | F/20 | 4 sec.

They were about a day ahead of me, and I was coming to realize that our paths were not going to cross. But earlier that day I had been thinking about what if the conditions were different.  What if their mother or I had been African-American? What if that one facet of their lives were different? Would they have the luxury of being able to load into a 1970 Volkswagen bus to drive across the country?  What challenges would they have faced? As a parent I had my own fears about their journey and their circumstance, but with the racial tensions increasing again, I can’t image to compounding of these fears simply because of a child’s skin color.  I know this was weighing on my as I sat here, I know I was thinking about my brother Steve, and I know I was thinking about Angela, the person who was supposed to be on this journey with me.

For me, humility has been earned at times through painful lessons of loss. And to be honest, I am okay with that.  The economist in me continually goes back to the proposition that the only thing we can control is our choice, and so instead of choosing to be hurt or maligned, I’ve chosen to be humble when circumstances have changed.

At the heart of all benevolence is humility. Some times that humility is won through grace, while other times it is a painful lesson. Something in this scene and in the recollection of seeing it first hand is so calming.  But even now I’m not so sure why. Maybe it was the familiarity, or maybe it was having to wait for something to happen, regardless of the final image. But here, it felt good, it felt right. Thank you, Grand Canyon, thank you for carrying so much.


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