This isn’t about motherhood, but it is embedded in my journey as a mom; so it is firmly placed in my Mumfullness Blog.
Where do you find the words to describe the indescribable?
Grand Canyon. Havasu Falls.
… in every sense.
I didn’t know I was going to the Grand Canyon until I arrived.
Unlike other parts of the Grand Canyon, we did not stay on American soil but hiked through the lands of the Havasupai people—Native Americans who have lived southeast of the Grand Canyon for the last 800 years. Nor was this place a never-ending expanse of open canyon. My friend Faye called it the womb of Mother Earth. For me, its arms rose up out of the ground in fantastical shades of red, orange, pink, black, and tan and engulfed us protectively, while almost always giving us a view ahead and a memory of what was behind.
Havasu Falls marked the destination point, but that wasn’t the whole of it.
In the 1880’s the Havasupai people lost much of their land to the federal government. The once fertile land suffered because of many ambitious projects. For nearly a hundred years the Supai fought to have the land returned to them, and in 1975 the majority of the land became theirs to manage once again. However, the losses were immeasurable and the tribe has turned to tourism, attracting thousands every year to the magic that is Havasu Falls and streams.
Havasu means “blue-green water”. It was way more than blue-green; it was aqua with a shimmer; it was bubbles of champagne through ice-blue; it was souls and spirits and guides with a depth you felt a part of.
Ever since my kids started school, September has been the beginning of the year. Moreover, two of our kids are from Ethiopia and their new year IS celebrated on September 11th. But this September marked the end of “the year of firsts” in my separation from my husband.
The ever-present red walls, the fine sand and hard rock we walked through and across, and the people that I shared the journey with filled my soul to comfortable capacity. My new friend Lisa said, “My heart feels full.” Ditto.
Our umbrella came in the form of our guide Karne. From the get-go, she was with us not for us; same-aged and with a breadth of life experience. Her spirited presence was large enough to fit each one of us easily inside; her playful 16-year-old self welcomed the wonder to ebb and flow in magical ways; she fed, nurtured, and got to know us on the inside—a pretty hard task in such a short time. She positively bounced, not in a Tigger kind of a way, but in an I’m-thrilled-to-be-with-you-and-show-you-my-playground kind of a way.
We fell in love. Old school. By enjoying the same things, expressing ourselves authentically, and delighting in the presence of one another.
We spent four days in the canyon, and three days in Sedona—a mecca of all things spiritual. This group brought out the best in me and I am a better person for having adventured with them. (I only knew one person in our group of five before the trip).
For seven straight days I had no pain. Not physical. Not emotional. A heart that had cracked over the past few years, leaned in on itself and began to heal. I smiled so much my face hurt; we laughed so hard that not only did I pee my pants, but I also got an abdominal workout in the most natural of ways; and we walked, talked, climbed, swam, ate, and slept with the kind of tender-hearted care a person knows so rarely in a lifetime.
I could not have imagined the joy that would fill my heart alongside these people of the earth.