The life of a butterfly


As a geologist, the Grand Canyon humbles me.

I feel the gravity of more than 2 billion years staring back.

And I realise how short and recent a human life is.

A butterfly lives 7 days.
A woman, around 83 years.

Tears came easily today as I thought “these rocks haven’t changed, I have.” My life is halfway over and now I am finally happy and content without the stress of having something to prove anymore. The torches I carried have been handed off to the next generation. I finally understand the elusive story these rocks tell.

They are here through the millennia despite what happens in our little lives. Despite sorrow over the death of a parent, divorce, job loss or being separated from loved ones the rocks remain. The sadness can pull off our fragile little wings if we allow it. Or we can choose to take some of the magic with us.

Staring deep into the Canyon, I imagined the plants and animals from long ago. The 2 billion year old algae, the 500 million year old trilobites, the dinosaurs, the ice age and the earliest people here 10,000 years ago.

Did they think of their own mortality, the next meal or both?

Did they ever think the earth might miss them when they leave?

I saw a little poem in the visitor’s center today:

” each takes a piece of the Canyon with him.”

I think it’s also fair to say that the Grand Canyon lets you know that you are a part of something much bigger.

And that a little piece of you will always be here no matter what.


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