Nudging the Perimeter

The teenage delinquents sat and stood right at the edge of the canyon.  It was the first trip to the Grand Canyon for their family and they were determined to make the most of it.  Without money to spend in the gift shop, the next best thing seemed to be a contest of who was the bravest.  Closer and closer edged first one, then another, until they were all right on the brink.  Below them…a sheer fall to certain death.  The parents of the boys were nearby, but they seemed to understand that over-protection wouldn’t be helpful.  A couple of times, the tired mom suggested, “Be careful boys,” but took no other action.  A few tourists who shuffled past warned the parents.  “They’re getting too close!  You don’t want one of them to fall!”  The travel weary couple just nodded and smiled.  And, sure enough, within a moment or two, the boys returned to the safety of the marked path, each satisfied that their claim to manly superiority had been adequately staked.

Photo by Pfl

 The Grand Canyon is a spectacle beyond all belief.  The vistas are endless and some people will stand for hours, simply gazing at the beauty before them.  The colors, the patterns of the rocks, the sheer magnitude of the huge hole in the ground is enough to hold them spellbound.  As you look down the canyon, you see dots moving on the side of the bluffs below and realize that those are people climbing down or up the canyon wall.  On further down, the river, from here just a stream really, rolls along gently.  It is an illusion.  The mighty Colorado River is a powerful flood of roiling water, pushing its way impatiently along the floor of the Canyon, at times nearly a mile below the rim.  The realization of its significance, while viewing it from the edge, is a little unnerving.  In reality, so large and powerful, yet from this vantage point, so tiny and unimpressive.  Again and again, the eye is drawn to other points of interest, before it is time to move on.  One visit is enough to burn the impression of it’s grandeur into the mind for a lifetime.

With all this amazing vista unfolding in front of us, why do the daredevils have to spend their time here crowding the edge of the precipice?  It’s a question I’ve asked myself for many years.

Yesterday, as dinner approached the time to be served, one last dish of delectably grilled food was brought inside.  The children had scant interest in all the other dishes which had come through the door.  Squash?  Zucchini?  Yawn!  Sweet Potatoes?  Ditto!  Wait!  What’s this?  This looks like pineapple!  That might be worth tasting!  But, the little ones were warned off with the customary, “Hot!” and most of them were content to wait.  One, though…within moments, she was poking, not at the contents of the container, but at the container itself.  I guess she just needed to know if it really was hot.  I wonder what goes through their little minds at moments like that.  “Mom says it’s hot, but she might be fibbing.  Maybe she just wants to keep it for herself.”  You’ll be happy to know that no fingers were burned in the preparation of this blog tonight, since her actions were noticed and she was headed off.

With all of the toys in Grandma’s house, why do the children want to crowd the edges of disaster?  I’m still wondering.

Hmmm…from the first recorded actions of humans in Genesis…“And the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desireable…”  It would seem that this is human nature in a nutshell.  We find out where the boundaries are and then we push.  You can’t keep us in your box!  Never mind that the box is designed to protect us; we want freedom!  And, again and again, we burn ourselves or we fall, realizing too late that there are boundaries because we are loved, not to keep us confined.  How amazingly short-sighted we are.  And how predictable.

The statistics tell us that actually only about sixty people have fallen from the top of the Grand Canyon since records have been kept.  Many more have died by other means there, but the boys (old and young) crowding the edge seldom actually pay the price for their foolishness.  It’s a good thing.

I think I’m going with Johnny Cash on this issue.  He says,”because you’re mine, I walk the line.”  Seems to be good advice to me.

I’m not planning any trips to the Grand Canyon any time soon, either.

“In a love that cannot cease, I am His and He is mine.”
(George Robinson~Irish poet~1838-1877)

 “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine,
I walk the line.”

(“I Walk The Line”~Johnny Cash~American singer-songwriter~1932-2003)

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